Athletics and Academics

Only a handful of athletics programs are financially self-sustaining like the University of Kentucky. UK also is one of those programs able to make significant financial contributions each year to the institution's academic and general programming needs. Still fewer are proposing the kind of increase in support of academic needs like that being proposed by UK Athletics to fund through its revenues the construction of a major academic building -- the 195,000 square foot Academic Science Building.

One recent example of that kind of commitment is from the LSU Athletics Department, which with its increased revenue picture has agreed to transfer $36 million to academic programs during the next five years and provide additional revenue-sharing funds to ease budget pressures experienced by the university.

The LSU Board of Supervisors recently approved the policy that calls for an initial annual transfer of $7.2 million to support academic, research, public service and other missions in order to share in the success of the athletics department. The athletics department also transferred $4 million to the academic side of the University for FY 2011-12 budget challenges.

Under the revenue-sharing portion of the plan, the athletics department will put the first $3 million of a surplus in athletics reserve accounts. Three-fourths of any excess between $3 million and $5 million will go to athletics and the remainder to other parts of LSU. Any profit above $5 million will be split between athletics and the rest of the university.

Alabama: Spent $47 million in 2006 and $65.6 million in 2010 on separate expansions to Bryant-Denny Stadium, increasing its number of luxury suites from 85 to 159.

Arkansas: Spent $110 million to expand Razorback Stadium from 50,000 to 72,000, and currently has a $78-$95 million training center proposal on the table.

Auburn: Spent $22 million on a 2006 expansion at Jordan-Hare Stadium, completed work on a $16 million training facility.

Florida: In 2007 completed the $28 million Heavener football training facility and in 2002 finished a $50 million expansion that added club seating and suites at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Georgia: In 2003, spent $25 million to add 5,000 new seats to Sanford Stadium. In 2005, added 27 SkySuites at a cost of $8 million. It also upgraded stadium concourses and added a $33 million football training facility.

LSU: Expansion projects in 2000 and 2005 totaled around $100 million, adding 70 luxury suites plus additional seating and premium seating. In July, it got state approval for a $75 million project that will add 65 more suites, 3,000 club seats and new scoreboards and video boards. Cosmetic changes before this season included a new lighting system to bathe the north end of the stadium in purple and gold lights.

Mississippi State: Gained approval for a $75 million expansion project to Davis-Wade Stadium, to begin immediately after this season and be completed in 2014. It will be the stadium's fourth expansion since 2002.

Ole Miss: Spent $25 million in 2002 on a Vaught-Hemingway Stadium renovation. In 2011 launched a $150 million campaign for a stadium facelift and improvements to the basketball arena.

South Carolina: Spent $30 million in renovations over the past decade, not counting the $30.5 million it spent for land acquisition and development of a new tailgating area. It's also moving forward on a $14 million football practice facility, and recently added the SEC's largest video board.

Tennessee: In 2004 approved $200 million in football expansions and upgrades, including a $45 million training center that is recognized as one of the best in the sport at any level.

Vanderbilt: Approving a $150 million upgrade to all athletic facilities, including $31 million for a new football practice facilities and $10-15 million for stadium improvements.

Texas A&M, upon being admitted to the SEC, announced $400 million in renovations and expansions to Kyle Field, taking seating capacity to 103,000

Missouri has won approval for $72 million in improvements to its football facilities

*Source: Eric Crawford, WDRB

Join BBN