TARGET 8: Records show increase in MU athletic department spending

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COLUMBIA - Through an open records request, KOMU 8's Target 8 investigative team acquired the MU athletic department's financial records from the years 2004 and 2014 to see how spending has changed over a 10-year period.

The reports show that MU is similar to many major universities nationwide, in the sense that athletic spending has increased across the board. 

In 2014, the athletic department spent a little more than $1.2 million on recruiting for its teams. That is good for a more than half-a-million dollar increase from 2004, when the department spent a little over $500 thousand. 

The reports also show an increase in total operating expenses. In 2004, the department incurred around $38 million in expenses. In 2014, that number jumps by more than $40 million to about $82 million.

However, it is worth noting that the department did see an increase in revenue of about $40 million as well.

When looking at individual team spending, the football, men's basketball, women's basketball and softball teams all increased.

The football team's spending more than tripled, the men's basketball team's spending increased 85 percent, the women's basketball team's spending increased 87 percent and the softball team's spending more than doubled. 

Athletic department officials said the switch to the SEC can account for a lot of this because the conference increased the department's revenue substantially. 

Since being introduced as the new head football coach, Barry Odom has emphasized multiple times the importance of recruiting.

KOMU 8 asked Odom if he believed that spending on recruiting would continue to rise.

Odom said recruiting is more about building relationships with players and their families.

He then added, "I don't know that necessarily increases the spending of it, but I think as year to year goes by prices of things go up." 

In the months following unrest on the MU campus, the university announced a large drop in freshman enrollment for the upcoming year resulting in a hiring freeze and a multi-million dollar budget shortfall. 

KOMU 8 wanted to know if this would have an effect on the athletic department's finances. 

Associate athletic director Tim Hickman explained that the athletic department's budget and the university's budget are not the same. 

"The majority of our revenue comes from sources that we have such as conference revenue, ticket sales, or contributions to our department, things like that," Hickman said. 

However, Hickman was sure to add that the department is not unaffected by happenings on campus. 

"There's not so much of a direct correlation. However, when the institutions struggling, everyone in the community is struggling including us. So it impacts us all." 

One aspect of Mizzou's financial records that are different than a lot of other universities is student fees. A few years back, MU elected to cut out all fees to the student body and chose instead to charge students for student tickets. 

Hickman said this was a conscientious choice made by the department because it puts the choice of whether to contribute to athletic programs in the hands of the individual students. 

If you would like to pick through the financial records from 2004 and 2014 on your own they are included below.