Tennessee Athletics finishes 2017 ‘in the black,’ releases 2018 budget

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee Athletics Director John Currie released details on the athletics department’s $133.7 million operating budget for 2017-2018.

Currie said nearly 50 percent of the budget will go to fund operating, travel and recruiting costs for the 200 sports teams and more than 500 student-athletes at the University of Tennessee. Additionally, $14.4 million will go to scholarships, $7.4 million will go to student-athlete support services such as sports medicine, strength training, and academic services and $13 million will go to facilities maintenance and utilities.

“You will also note that we are intentionally carving out money from annual operating revenues to save for a strategic Neyland Stadium renovation fund (a $3 million line item this year),” said Currie in a letter to fans. “This stands as proof of our determination to improve fan experience through basic enhancements like entry points in and out of the stadium, safety, and security, restrooms and concessions, etc. Certainly, this historic project will require an exponentially larger total, but this allocation is an important component of how we ensure that future generations of Tennessee fans will be able to continue to come to love and enjoy the unique Neyland Stadium experience.”

Currie said the university finished another year “in the black” for 2016-2017. He said the department remains one of only 25 programs nationally that operate without direct university funding, tuition or tax dollars.

“When you break down the numbers, it gives you a true appreciation of the fact that everyone’s support matters,” said Currie. “Every single fan makes a difference, as 26 percent of our annual revenue comes directly from ticket sales, including more than 21 percent (close to $29 million) coming from the sale of Tennessee football tickets alone. Gifts made by members of the Tennessee Fund—totaling more than $28.3 million—account for a significant 21 percent of our annual revenue.”

The Volunteers play their season-opener in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium vs. Georgia Tech on September 4. Their first home game is September 9.

Head Coach Butch Jones will be at SEC Media Days Monday for a preview of the status on the team.

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