Athletic director gives specifics on the athletics department’s budget situation

By Janae Mosby, Staff Reporter

In a follow up conversation with SIU athletic director Liz Jarnigan, Saluki athletics is continuing to mitigate the impacts of lost revenue. 

Jarnigan informed the Daily Egyptian in an interview on Aug. 25 about the current status of the budget and how they plan on fixing it, and on Sept. 11 Jarnigan provided more specific numbers on how they are handling the situation. 

“We have cut three million from our operating budget [and] we have not replaced 13 positions. We are operating on a skeleton crew here,” Jarnigan said. 

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According to Jarnigan, the Chancellor plans on discussing the cuts that the athletics department has made with the board of trustees.

“For football, we cut $250,000 out of their operating budget. Our sports operating budgets have all been cut by 25% or more this year,” Jarnigan said. 

Jarnigan said a cut in the operating budget means that the Salukis would not be able to play a full schedule in the spring. 

But, Jarnigan said on Aug. 25 that spring play will be conference-only for SIU. 

While the athletic department has implemented some cost saving opportunities, they have also taken some hits on the revenue side, Jarnigan said. 

“Our NCAA distributions are less, our multimedia rights partner is struggling to provide us with contractions payments. Enrollment continues to go down and that impacts our portion of student fees,” Jarnigan said

Though the athletics department is saving some money from the postponement of fall sports, Jarnigan said it is not enough to cover the expenses for this year. 

“We struggled with our funding for a long time, even before COVID. We’ve been working on it since I arrived here. We’ve been working on identifying areas we can realize cost efficiency,” Jarnigan said.

Jarnigan is working on sponsorships to help raise money for the athletic department.

“We are already working on sponsorships and continuing to make good on sponsorships. Sponsorships really require us to be playing, that’s when people will provide sponsorship dollars and we are working hard on that,” Jarnigan said. 

The athletic department is also working on plans for a fundraising campaign to help raise money.

Even with the possibility of having basketball in the winter will not help cover the deficits of the postponement of football season, Jarnigan said.

“If we were able to get the ticket revenue for basketball, that would just help us maintain our previous level of ticket revenue from previous years. There is no real way to make up for the lost revenue from football during the basketball season,” Jarnigan said. 

The revenue made from men’s basketball will go toward covering the cost for the men’s basketball programs.

“The overall end goal is to achieve a place where we are funded and bringing in revenue for us to maintain our current level of excellence,” Jarnigan said. 

 Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at jmosby@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

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