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Tennessee football in major debt

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02:36 PM ET 01.28 | Tennessee football is in dire financial straits, as a report revealed that the school is spending $21 million a year in debt payments alone.

An article by Michael Smith of the Sports Business Journal revealed that things aren't pretty for the Volunteers, who had their lowest attendance since 1979 this past year - their third straight losing campaign. They have the highest debt in the SEC and the least money to pay for it. A $5 million buyout of Derek Dooley's contract didn't make matters any easier.

Sports Business Journal

, Randy Sartin - USA Today Sports Randy Sartin - USA Today Sports
January 28, 2013  02:47 PM ET

It can't be "major".

How is that possible?

Between their attendance and their portion of the SEC conference money they s/b doing fine.

If they are in "major debt", it wreaks of mis-management to me. Better look into the $ going to admin and support personnel.

January 28, 2013  02:59 PM ET

Tennessee made a deal with the Devil and now the payment is due.

January 28, 2013  03:05 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

How is that possible?

Hamilton. During his tenure, not only did UTK make bad hiring and firing decisions for which they're still paying, they financed multiple facilities expansions and upgrades. So, in addition to the athletics department budget, there's debt service, and contract buyouts. The reserve fund is spent.

January 28, 2013  03:06 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Tennessee made a deal with the Devil and now the payment is due.

Burn in hell with Saban, Devil worshiper.

January 28, 2013  03:45 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Tennessee made a deal with the Devil and now the payment is due.

Yeah and that "Devil" was Mike Hamiliton!!!!!

January 28, 2013  03:52 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Hamilton. During his tenure, not only did UTK make bad hiring and firing decisions for which they're still paying, they financed multiple facilities expansions and upgrades. So, in addition to the athletics department budget, there's debt service, and contract buyouts. The reserve fund is spent.

Yikes . . . they REALLY need football to come back around.

OR maybe they just need a wealthy alumnus (i.e., Peyton Manning) to dump some money into the Athletic department.

January 28, 2013  04:15 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Yikes . . . they REALLY need football to come back around.OR maybe they just need a wealthy alumnus (i.e., Peyton Manning) to dump some money into the Athletic department.

Hart is getting the fiscal house in order. He's already reduced organizational costs. He cannot make the current debt go away($$$millions). I don't know if he has any wriggle room on the amount of debt service.

Football revenues are waaaaay down, to levels not seen since the end of the '70s (when the stadium seated 20K leass than it does, now). Hart can get those up by providing an improved product and smarter marketing for the slowly rising times.

However sharp Hart is about the financial side of things, UTK athletics will be dancing on a razor thin margin for quite awhile yet.

January 28, 2013  04:15 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Burn in hell with Saban, Devil worshiper.

Sorry, but we'll be standing guard at the Pearly Gates. No Tennseee fans, players, or coaches allowed.

January 28, 2013  04:26 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

It can't be "major". How is that possible?Between their attendance and their portion of the SEC conference money they s/b doing fine.If they are in "major debt", it wreaks of mis-management to me. Better look into the $ going to admin and support personnel.

judging from the on-field product, the $$$ wasn't going to pay players to join em...so at least there's that.

January 28, 2013  05:54 PM ET

So - they get this big bag of money annually from the $EC and they can't make ends meet?





Soudns to me like someone's doing well.

January 28, 2013  06:02 PM ET

First of all if they were broke why did they fire Dooley and hire another coach, second of all the school does not pay off the coach the alumni does over a period of years, and third it is hard to believe that UT is broke since the SEC sent 9 schools to bowl games this year and with the new TV deal the league got with ESPN. The league gets the money and the team in the bowl game gets half of it and the other members split the rest, so UT is not left out.

January 28, 2013  07:27 PM ET

Toad,

That's like saying how did Vince Young spend all his money?

Comment #13 has been removed
January 28, 2013  08:19 PM ET

If $21 million is the debt service (i e interest on the loans), then the debt amount must be in excess of $400 million, assuming an interest rate around 5%.

January 28, 2013  08:23 PM ET

Whoops, just re-read the article. $21 million was the total debt payment last year. Hopefully some of that was principle. Not sure what the total outstanding debt is at UTk.

January 28, 2013  09:36 PM ET

Blame it on coach Kiffin.

January 28, 2013  10:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Hart is getting the fiscal house in order.

Tin, I m truly sorry to hear that UTk is in such dire financial straits. However, IMO, you have the right guy to fix it. Dave Hart did some great things at FSU, and I'd expect nothing less from him in K-ville.

January 29, 2013  08:05 AM ET

Finally read the complete article ( hate it when work gets in the way of CFB). The total debt is in excess of $200 million. Cash reserves in the athletic department are $1.9 million. The university has agreed to forgo a $7 million payment from the athletic department for the next 3 years to help the athletic department get back on firm financial footing. There is apparantly, no restrictions on borrowing by the athletic department. $130 million was borrowed to fund improvements to Neyland Stadium. The rest of the debt was for other athletic facility improvements. The reports about Hamiltion that I remember said he was a good fund raiser. Guess that wasn't really the case.

January 29, 2013  12:39 PM ET

Hamilton was and is a very good fundraiser. He was unfit to be AD and made a godawful mess of things at UTK during his brief tenure as men's AD.

 
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