The financial blueprints underpinning the Autzen expansion presented to the Senate Budget Committee by the Intercollegiate Athletic Department and the Administration appear to be fiscally sound. They are based on conservative estimates of attendance growth and resultant revenue increases. With these conservative assumptions in place, the fiscal policy embodied in the expansion plan is designed to meet Title IX obligations, build reserve funds, and meet the other financial commitments of the Athletics Department without University general funds. There is a bonding element to the plan designed to cover immediate building costs while awaiting the receipt of donations promised over a multi-year period. We are satisfied that the bond debt is appropriate given the size of the project, and that it will be repaid entirely from athletic revenues and not from academic sources.
The fiscal independence of the athletic program enabled by the stadium expansion is a starting point for further developing a synergistic relationship between athletic and academics. This supports efforts by the Administration, the Intercollegiate Athletic Department and Faculty leadership to establish a model of interaction between athletics and academics that promotes academic excellence as a primary shared objective. The University and Senate Presidents are in the process of establishing a University panel whose aim will be to explore and explain the role of athletics in the University. We are hopeful that a continued dialogue driven by shared academic goals will allow academics and athletics to develop a relationship that further benefits both groups.
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