Though the NCAA recently adopted a new set of cost-saving measures to combat higher travel costs for its sports teams, the University’s Athletic Department says it won’t have to take similar action to curb costs.

Last month, the NCAA amended its rules, regarding which costs will be covered when teams travel to fall sports championships. Under the new guidelines, only teams flying 400 miles or more will receive reimbursement from the NCAA — 50 miles more than the previous threshold. Teams traveling less than 400 miles will not be reimbursed if they choose to fly rather than drive.

The NCAA also implemented a cap on the number of airline baggage charges it will cover, at two per traveler, including sports equipment bags.

In all, the NCAA hopes the measures will save about $500,000 during the fall season, according to Stacey Osburn, NCAA spokeswoman.

Jason Winters, senior associate athletic director of business operations for the Athletic Department, said increased travel expenses haven’t impacted the University as much it has other schools around the country because the University budgeted for increasing fuel prices.

“(When the budget was set) gas prices and other airline costs had been increasing,” Winters said. “So, we had budgeted a fairly healthy increase.”

According to Winters, total travel expenses cost the Athletic Department just under $4 million last year, or 5 percent of the department’s total expenses.

Winters said he wasn’t aware of any situations in previous years in which extra personnel, including the marching band, cheerleaders or extra coaches, had been restricted from traveling to events or away games. He said that to stay under their budgets, some teams might have left personnel such as extra trainers behind on trips.

For the NCAA, rising travel costs have historically “been on the Association’s radar,” Osburn said.

She said travel costs for Division I have increased by approximately $7 million, or 31 percent, from last year. Costs have also increased almost 58 percent over the past three years — a figure that amounts to almost $12 million. Additionally, the NCAA is projecting an increase of $6 to $7 million for Division I travel expenses for next year.

Along with increased costs, Osburn said NCAA officials are concerned about reductions in airline capacity.

In an effort to help schools find more cost-effective hotel and airfare accommodations, NCAA officials have also asked tournament selection committees to announce where teams will be playing sooner. Officials also asked selection committees to avoid choosing tournament sites that would be more densely populated at the time, such as well-known spring break destinations.

The NCAA considered other cost-cutting policies last month, but action was deferred until its member schools could weigh in. These changes ranged from a moratorium on tournament-field expansion through the 2012-13 season to discouraging, but not prohibiting, the selection of championship sites in high-cost or remote locations.

Changes implemented by the NCAA for the fall season will take immediate effect. The NCAA will evaluate how effective the changes were and then decide whether to use the same guidelines for winter and spring championships.

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