On the one-year anniversary of becoming the University”s interim Athletic Director, now permanent Athletic Director Bill Martin gave a lecture yesterday at the Business School on managing his department”s budget and the NCAA as a whole.
Martin said athletics are “the most highly visible department” at the University, accounting for “99 percent” of Michigan”s public image.
“I”m not saying that is right, I”m saying that is life,” Martin said.
A 1965 graduate of the Business School, Martin discussed the reasons for the Athletic Department”s $5 million deficit and how he plans to erase it.
As one of his proposed solutions to eradicating the deficit, Martin said very limited advertising in Michigan Stadium is being considered and made it clear that further commercialism throughout Michigan athletics is a possible step.
Martin said the problem of overspending on athletics exists across the country because of pressure to compete with each other.
Martin cited several schools cutting teams as casualties of the need to increase revenue. Michigan, meanwhile, has added men”s soccer and water polo to this year”s list of varsity clubs.
Salaries for coaches in revenue sports are also escalating, a trend that Martin said he does not see any way to reverse.
“Lloyd Carr earns every penny of his salary,” he added.
Martin reiterated that football ticket prices were on the rise. “Prices are going up, and they”re going up for everybody,” he said.
When asked if students were included in “everybody,” he replied: “If students want to come to the games, why shouldn”t they go up for students?”
He also praised the new Nike contract signed earlier this year. Martin said the money from that deal alone is sufficient for funding seven varsity sports and the cheerleading squad for the year. Equivalent to that amount of money, Martin added, would be a $5 dollar increase on every football ticket.
A goal for Michigan is to do a better job on the endowment of scholarships. Martin said he was jealous of Stanford, where companies donated stock years ago, and now total $125 million.
Martin wants to reconnect with former athletes who he hopes will also donate money for the endowment of scholarships. Michigan, he said, has not gone out of its way to maintain good relations with its players. He pointed out that Michigan has retired just one basketball jersey, that of Cazzie Russell, a player in the mid 1960s, as opposed to a school like Duke which, as he put it, may run out of numbers.