April 20, 2021
Dear University Community,
We are writing to share the results of an extensive review of the financial health of UNH athletics. The goal of this review was to find a way for athletics to be at breakeven financially by the end of FY23. This work is part of our build financial strength strategic priority. Consistent with our ongoing work based on the Huron report, it is important that we review all parts of the university and identify ways to grow revenue, reduce expenses and ensure financial strength. Athletics is an important part of the university, not only for student-athletes, but for the enjoyment of the university and for building spirit and pride in UNH.
In FY20, athletics’ annual budget was close to $30M and it ended with a deficit of $2M. By implementing some of the recommendations in this report , we expect athletics to be at breakeven by the end of FY23. A significant portion of athletics’ revenue is the student athletic fee. The committee explored the possibility of eliminating the fee but shifting the expense to the university’s operating budget is not feasible at this time. That said, the student athletic fee has not increased in the past three years and will not increase for as long as President Dean is president.
To achieve the goal of breaking even by the end of FY23, we will be pursuing the following recommendations immediately:
- Reduce the number of institutionally supported scholarships to bring the number in line with our benchmark peer group
- Hire an additional fundraising position that will not only increase philanthropic support for athletics, but will more than cover the position’s salary within the first two years
- Outsource travel and transportation management
- Secure naming rights for Wildcat Stadium and the Whittemore Center
- Increase rentals of athletic venues
There are other recommendations in the report that we will continue to analyze; some of them are longer term. As the report describes in great detail, the committee hired outside experts to assess whether we should reduce the number of teams and/or move to Division II/III, while maintaining compliance with Title IX. Neither of these steps were ultimately recommended, for reasons identified in the report.
We want to extend our gratitude to the members of the task force that worked on the report. We appreciate the time and thoughtfulness that went into it.
James W. Dean Jr.