The first phase of UNC Charlotte's decision-making process which will determine whether to add a football team, is complete. The University received the estimated costs associated with bringing football to the school. (The link to the news story also includes a brief news clip that does not offer much more than the print story though there is an interview with a student about what football could bring to campus.)
I have to commend the university for exhibiting a great deal of candor thus far. The numbers are out there and they show a doubling of the athletic department's 2005-2006 expense budget if football were to be added in 2012. They have been forthright with students that some of the money will have to come from them. (The problem with this scenario though is that only 20 percent of students polled last year said they would pay an up-to $400 athletic fee for the addition and they were polling students who will not be around in 2012 to benefit.)
The estimates also include $1.6 million to add women's sports that would provide opportunities to about 100 female student-athletes. Field hockey, lacrosse, and swimming are the early contenders. Note that that figure is a small percentage of the $8.9 million increase in the department budget. One of the senior associate athletic directors felt that the increase would be made up by the revenues. But over half the expected revenues are budgeted to come from student fees--not ticket or merchandise sales.
Also not included in the $8.9 million is the biggest cost of all: the $75 million for a stadium and an additional $33 million for other fields and facilities. Although the numbers were there in the estimates and the article reported on them, the fact that they seem to be separated out is problematic. While money for capital costs often comes from a variety of sources, including donations, they will factor into the department budget when you think ahead to upkeep or to the possibility of paying off the bonds that could be used to help build the facilities.
I don't think UNC Charlotte would put it this way, but the start-up costs involved with bringing football to the school will be $116.9 million.