Pac-10 money to help Beavers climb out of debt

2011-05-04T23:50:00Z 2015-03-25T18:04:38Z Pac-10 money to help Beavers climb out of debtBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis was relieved when he learned the early financial details of the future Pacific-12 Conference TV contract.

The Beavers are desperate for a monentary infusion.

Each school expects to receive about $21 million each year starting at the end of the 2012-13 school year, quadrupling what the Beavers received for this season.

However, $21 million just doesn't go that far anymore.

"The good news is we have a steady source of revenue we can count on," De Carolis said. "While it's a huge upswing, it's not the silver bullet that solves all the problems. We still have to sell tickets and get more donors."

De Carolis sketched out a plan to reporters Wednesday afternoon where the first year's money would go. After paying off the debt there's not much left.

There's time to figure it all out since the first check won't be seen until June 2013. Money is not distributed until the end of the school year.

"We have issues we have to take care of and to decide how we are going to take care of them," De Carolis said. "It will help balance the budget. It will help sustain the programs we have at a competitive level. After time it will reduce, if not totally eliminate the investment from the university side."

Each year there will be deductions, so OSU will not get a full $21 million. For the first year De Carolis expects to clear about $14.5 million, and have about $9 million more than he did this year from TV revenue.

All the schools must buy out of their individual broadcast contracts in order to be unified under the Pac-12 agreement. For OSU, that's about $5 million to get out from under Learfield Communications.

Then the schools pay $1.5 million annually into the future Pac-12 network. They are doing it now so it's not forgotten, De Carolis said.

OSU would be left with $14.5 million.

From there the Beavers run on a $4 million deficit. De Carolis wants to eliminate that quickly. Then there's the $6-$7 million owed on the first phase of Reser Stadium expansion.

That could be paid in a lump sum, or over time. De Carolis wants to give to each of his athletic teams a stimulus because their operating budgets have not increased in five years, so he's leaning against paying off all debt with the first installment.

"Our coaches have been doing it with smoke and mirrors," De Carolis said. "I don't know how they do it. We have to get a schedule and prioritize it. There will be a plan in how we do that. It will be to give them a little relief. We won't go crazy, but we'll see how we can help them."

After the first year of paying off debt the Beavers will have increasing surplus money to use. More money may be coming after the Pac-12 network gets going.

The Beavers could also stop taking the approximate $3.7 million from the university general fund, or at least minimize it.

De Carolis is against severing fiscal ties with the university, and said there are decision-makers on campus who share his feelings. They like the marketing athletics gives to the overall university.

"I've been with programs that have done that and there was definite riff formed between athletics and university, by not being a part of it," De Carolis said. "I subscribe to there should be some investment in athletics. If you have them investing there's a leash. You can't be a rogue department. So the question is how much (investment). We'll have that discussion point with the leadership."

Long-term goals for the Beavers are building a practice facility for the basketball programs, expanding Reser Stadium and building a track facility.

This new money source will eventually help them a few years from now.

"It could affect that, but we don't know, yet," De Carolis said. "We have to figure out the IOUs out there. The biggest things for us are get the debt paid off, balance the budget, and sustain our programs at a competitive level."

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