Sunday, May 26, 2024

Louisiana audits find three state university athletics programs are losing money

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Athletic departments at several of Louisiana’s public universities are operating at a loss, according to recent reports from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

Auditor Mike Waguespack issued a series of reports last week that examined whether financial statements for athletic departments at five of the state’s public universities complied with National Collegiate Athletic Association bylaws in fiscal year 2022.

review of the statement of revenues and expenses for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Athletic Department found a deficit of $5.3 million, with total revenues of $33 million and total expenses of about $38.3 million. Auditors also noted one instance in which a $6,000 in-kind donation was not accompanied by supporting documentation, as required.

The same review for the Southern University at Baton Rouge Athletic Department showed a deficit of $394,518 in 2022, with revenues of $18.1 million and total expenses at $18.5 million. Auditors found the university’s repayment schedule for outstanding intercollegiate athletics debt was not properly disclosed, in addition to other issues with incorrect athletic and Pell grant amounts in the NCAA Membership Financial Reporting System, and misclassified revenue.

Finances for the athletic department at Nicholls State University were also in the red for FY 2022, with expenses of $11.1 million outpacing revenues of $10.9 million, resulting in a deficit of $203,448. Auditors also uncovered three instances of misclassified or understated amounts on the university’s statement of revenues and expenses.

“In addition, auditors noted that the university overstated the current-year capital expenditures related to athletic buildings that were reported to the NCAA,” according to a report summary.

Two other schools’ athletic departments posted a profit in FY 2022.

At Louisiana Tech University, the athletic department’s revenues exceeded expenses by $399,234, with total revenues at about $28.7 million and total expenses of roughly $28.3 million. Auditors found one scholarship worth $1,297 that was incorrectly coded to football that should have been coded to men’s basketball, as well as a $2,163 overpayment to an employee. Both the scholarship and overpayment have since been corrected.

Revenues also exceeded expenses at Southeastern Louisiana University’s athletic department by $100,571, with total revenues at $14.8 million and total expenses at $14.7 million. Other issues at Southeastern involved an overstatement of countable contests for men’s track and field.

“The University had seven regular season countable contests and two postseason countable contests on its website,” the report read. “The Sports Sponsorship and Demographics form had five regular season countable contests and one postseason countable contest.”

At Nicholls State and Southern, “Auditors also noted variances between current-year and prior-year grant-in-aid revenue distribution equivalencies requiring explanations per NCAA guidelines,” the reports read.

Those variances occurred as a result of changes in student sports participation and program funding that exceeded 4% between fiscal year 2021 and 2022.

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