But after UNO’s first year as a full-fledged member of Division I, it’s clear that competing at the NCAA’s highest level can also produce some scary budget numbers. The Maverick athletic department finished the 2015-16 budget year with a $1.8 million deficit.
Christensen and UNO athletic director Trev Alberts certainly don’t believe the numbers show the Division I move was a mistake...
Any arena profits were to flow into the athletic budget for other purposes. While the pro forma had called for the arena to make roughly $400,000, by the time Alberts put together his budget the expected gain had climbed to over $500,000. Those dollars never came in.
Operating and personnel costs were also $800,000 above projections.
Alberts said Division I schools such as UNO that don’t receive big TV money like those in the major conferences will always face budget challenges. But he said he still wants UNO athletics to balance the bottom line — including in the current year.
This year, UNO made $600,000 in budget cuts. It also is projecting a $400,000 increase in NCAA and conference revenue and $350,000 in added ticket dollars.
Like all other non-Power Five schools, UNO athletics relies heavily on campus subsidies each year to support the school’s sports programs. The department is set to receive $8.6 million in direct campus support this year, up over $300,000 from a year ago.