For the 2018 fiscal year, the total net income for Longwood athletics was reported as a surplus of $238,980, an increase from the previous year. The net income derives from the excess of total operating revenues over total operating expenses and of the revenue, almost two-thirds came from student fees, according to the athletic department's most recent financial statement.
The financial statement has to be filled and submitted to the NCAA, and reported that the total operating revenue totaled $12,163,488. Student fees, such as auxiliary costs, made up $7,978,606 - a small increase from the 2017 fiscal year, that generated $7,702,925. In recent years, the amount of student fees has remained a significant contributor to funding the athletics department and their programs.
A percentage of student fees from the university is allocated towards athletics every year, according to Vice President for Administration and Finance Louise Waller.
“Right now we’re at about 64 to 65 percent of student fees going towards athletics,” Waller said. “We’re very much in line, and even less than some of our competitors.”
In comparison, 84 percent of student fees are allocated for athletics at Radford University and 77 percent is allocated at James Madison University. Old Dominion University sits closely with Longwood in this regard, putting forth 62 percent towards athletics, according to Waller.
The percentage of student fees allocated to athletics relies on a few factors, causing the number to change every year. According to Interim Athletics Director Michelle Meadows, factors include student enrollment, tuition and fees, comprehensive fee breakdowns and student revenue.
Part of tuition includes a comprehensive fee, which is broken down to a percentage that's distributed toward different departments, such as athletics, parking and transportation, facilities, and more. Each department or service is given a certain amount of these fees per credit hour, but the amount fluctuates, according to Longwood's website.
For the 2018-19 fiscal year, $68.18 in comprehensive fees was distributed to athletics per credit hour, the most among all categories. Though athletics saw a slight decrease from the 2017-18 fiscal year, they remained the top departmental recipient.
However, all fees come with spending thresholds, limiting programs on what they can or can’t use the money for.
“Largely, we, as a state agency, are limited with what we can use our funds for, and we have lots of guidelines,” Waller said. “As a whole, state funds are very restrictive anyway, so all of these fees have restrictions.”
Every year, athletics goes through a budget planning and request process, communicating with different university officials to determine how much the department needs. The funds they request will come directly from the university auxiliary budget and is determined by the Board of Visitors. Meadows, formerly serving as chief financial officer, said once the budget is approved, athletics is able to move forward in budget planning.
“We will then estimate the revenue that we can generate within athletics, and then we will determine our budgets for each of our programs from there,” she said.
As of Jan. 31, 2019, the athletics department was given a budget of $8,480,492 by the Board of Visitors, according to a Longwood University financial overview.
The majority of student fees and direct institutional support make up a combined 88 percent of all the departmental revenue and are classified under non-program specific funds. These funds are generated revenue not tied to a specific sport. According to Meadows, the money is aggregated into this category and distributed over their budget to fund all programs, support units and student-athletes.
Direct institutional support revenue is money from the university auxiliary budget and can be used for multiple purposes.
“It could be used for operational expenses, it could be used for a one-time strategic initiative, or it could be used for tuition, like scholarships,” Meadows said. “It’s hard to delineate exactly where it's going, oftentimes it is a supplementary source to our overall budget.”
The department’s total operating expenses are listed as $11,924,508, with roughly one-third generated from athletic student aid. The expenses include summer school, tuition discounts and aid for inactive or ineligible student-athletes.
Of the 14 teams at Longwood, men’s and women’s basketball covered 40 percent of all salaries, benefits and bonuses paid by the university. Men’s head basketball coach Griff Aldrich’s initial base salary is $150,000 and women’s basketball head coach Rebecca Tillett’s initial base salary is $105,000, with each having a $5,000 annual increase along with performance-based bonuses. According to Meadows, in being a Division I program, this is a common practice among the majority of institutions with their most popular athletics programs.
“You would classify basketball as a revenue-generating sport, and (with) revenue-generating sports across the country, you will find that the salaries are marketably higher than a non-revenue generating sport,” she said.
In total, the six men’s programs total operating expenses reached $3,605,098, with almost 50 percent attributed to men’s basketball. The eight women’s programs totaled $4,222,433, with nearly 30 percent coming from women’s basketball.
Aside from student fees, the department and certain programs receive funds through multiple avenues, including contributions and guarantees. Student fees remain the bulk of all departmental revenue, reaching the highest amount in school history in previous years, played in part by institutional growth. The result is departments on campus continuing to grow such as athletics.
“We place a lot of emphasis too on trying to find ways to generate external sources of revenue to help to support the athletics programs so that we can keep tuition and fees affordable and continue to invest in our student-athletes,” Meadows said. “We understand our responsibility in that and we are continuing to work towards that.”