UCF has much more work to do to get up to CUSA standards - even after big names (and big spenders) TCU, UofL, UC, and USF left:
(Text of article follows with qualifiers)
Posted on Fri, Feb. 20, 2004
UCF ranks near bottom of Conference USA schools
BY ALAN SCHMADTKE
The Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO, Fla. - (KRT) - For nearly a decade, UCF teams competed in the Atlantic Sun Conference with the league's biggest budgets, sport by sport.
That likely ends in 2005.
An examination of operating expenses in 2002-03 Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act reports shows the Golden Knights at or near the bottom of the schools headed toward re-formed Conference USA - UCF's future home.
UCF is 11th out of 11 schools in game-day spending for men's and women's basketball and eighth out of nine schools in game-day spending in baseball, reports show.
Game-day spending includes uniforms, travel, officials and security but does not include salaries or recruiting. EADA analysts consider the operational numbers some of the best apples-to-apples financial comparisons in the reports.
"We have some ground to make up. We know that," UCF Athletic Director Steve Orsini said. "The other side of the coin is we're fortunate that we have room to grow, and we will."
UCF leaves the Mid-American Conference (in football) and A-Sun (in Olympic sports other than rowing) for C-USA on July 1, 2005.
"We've talked for some time about the fact we have to grow our budgets, so that's not new," UCF President John Hitt said. "Our goal is to be extremely competitive in Conference USA, and to do that we have to make the commitment - and we will."
Orsini identified men's and women's basketball as two sports in which the Knights must make up the most financial ground in C-USA. For instance, Memphis spent four times as much as UCF in men's basketball, and Rice spent three times as much as UCF in women's basketball.
Marshall, which leaves the Mid-American Conference in all sports to join C-USA at the same time as UCF, is in the same boat at the Knights. It trails in financial investments in basketball, baseball and other Olympic sports.
UCF is ninth in overall revenues ($14.2 million) reported and 10th in football revenues ($2.1 million) reported for 2002-03 in the reconfigured C-USA. But Orsini, like many athletic directors, is hesitant to put much stock in those figures.
"We know exactly what we are reporting. We don't know exactly what other schools are reporting," he said.
© 2004, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).
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