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Where does the Nevada athletic department spend its money?

Lawlor Events Center
Lawlor Events Center for last year's UNLV game. (Byrne Photo/Nevada athletics)

The Wolf Pack athletic department recently released its annual report to the Nevada Board of Regents. There is a treasure trove of information in the filing, which you can look at here. Last week, we took a look at how the Nevada athletic department generated its money. Today, let's take a look at how the Wolf Pack spends that money, which in 2018-19 totaled $43,436,728.

Student aid

How much: $8,744,396 (20.1 percent)

Explain this please: The Wolf Pack has more than 300 student-athletes in 15 sports and while not all of them are on full-ride scholarships, more than 100 are and the others split scholarships. So this is an expensive line item, although it's not the most expensive if you add staff salaries (coaches and administration). Thankfully for Nevada, a good chunk of this line item is covered by tuition waivers from state appropriations. But this figure has increased rapidly over the years as the cost of college has shot up. In fiscal year 2014, Nevada's student aid cost $6.034 million, so it has increased more than $2.7 million in the last five years.

Coaching salaries

How much: $7,505,244 (17.3 percent)

Explain this please: The Wolf Pack is spending more on coaching salaries than ever before, but this figure is still low compared to other Mountain West schools. Eric Musselman became Nevada's first $1 million coach and the Wolf Pack is spending more on its assistant coaching staff in football than years prior. Overall, Nevada's $7.505 million spent on coaches exceeds UNLV's self-reported figure of $7.166 million.

Support staff salaries

How much: $4,814,846 (11.1 percent)

Explain this please: This column is for all non-coaching staff employees, so the athletic director and his leadership team, the communications office, ticket sales, sports medicine, academics and compliance, fundraising, etc. Combine the two and Nevada is spending $12.320 million on coaches/staff, up from $9.285 million five years ago. That's an increase of $3.035 million, which is 32.7 percent. Student aid has increased 44.7 percent over five years, so the combination of those two is big. On aid and salaries alone, Nevada's expenses have increased by more than $5.7 million in five years. Nevada has about 135 paid staffers on its directory, so that's an average salary of roughly $92,000 per person.

Team travel

How much: $3,304,874 (7.6 percent)

Explain this please: It costs a lot of money to get from game to game, and the Wolf Pack has tried to charter more flights in men's and women's basketball in recent seasons. This line item has increased quite a bit over the last five years, too. This figure was $2,493,330 five years ago, so an increase of $811,544 (32.5 percent).

Indirect institutional support

How much: $3,100,281 (7.1 percent)

Explain this please: This is defined as "administrative expenses not paid by or charged directly to athletics including: administrative/overhead fees not charged by the institution to athletics; facilities maintenance; security; risk management; utilities; equipment repair; telephone; and other administrative expenses." This column is largely a result of facilities maintenance, which Nevada gets a good chunk of state money to cover.

Direct overhead and administrative expenses

How much: $2,966,246 (6.8 percent)

Explain this please: This column also is defined by the items listed in the previous entry.

Equipment, uniforms and supplies

How much: $2,316,054 (5.3 percent)

Explain this please: Nevada gets about $900,000 in free apparel from Adidas every year as part of its contract with The Three Stripes, but that doesn't cover all of the costs. This number has exploded over the last five years (yes, everybody loves all of those jerseys Nevada basketball has had in recent years, but they cost money). This line item was $686,880 five years ago, so this has seen an increase of $1,629,174 (an increase of 237 percent). That's the largest percentage increase over the last five years for Nevada.

Athletic facility debt service, leases and rental

How much: $2,296,581 (5.3 percent)

Explain this please: Nevada has annual debt on three items, including Varsity Village ($1.080 million), the Mackay Stadium renovation ($11.040 million) and new scoreboards at Mackay and Lawlor Events Center ($2.021 million). As of June 2018, the combined debt without interest is $12.736 million. The Wolf Pack will be on the hook for this debt for more than a decade.

Fundraising, marketing and promotions

How much: $1,709,720 (3.9 percent)

Explain this please: Some fans feel like the Wolf Pack doesn't do a lot to promote its programs and upcoming games, but $1.7 million says it does spend money doing that.

Game expenses

How much: $1,427,215 (3.3 percent)

Explain this please: This is the cost of doing business by putting on more than 85 games on campus every year.

Game guarantees

How much: $1,057,165 (2.4 percent)

Explain this please: Just as Nevada gets some big paychecks for playing road games, it also has to pay teams to play in Reno. On a net basis, this is still a win for the Wolf Pack, which got $1,514,000 in guarantees and paid out $1,057,165 (so, plus $456,835). In fiscal year 2019, Nevada football paid out $600,000 in guarantees and Nevada men's basketball $411,560.

Recruiting

How much: $1,015,880 (2.3 percent)

Explain this please: This is an area Nevada has invested more heavily in in recent years. Five years ago, this column totaled $543,215, so this has almost doubled since 2014. Football's recruiting budget was $423,943, men's basketball's was $182,230, women's basketball was $95,721 and the rest of the Wolf Pack's programs was $313,986. So Nevada's football and men's basketball recruiting budget was more than the school's other 13 programs with about $100,000 left over.

Other operating expenses

How much: $926,812 (2.1 percent)

Explain this please: These are miscellaneous costs that don't fall into a column elsewhere on this list.

Medical expenses and medical insurance

How much: $538,531 (1.2 percent)

Explain this please: The Wolf Pack pays for all surgeries and medical insurance for its student-athletes while they are a part of the program. They do not cover insurance or medical fees after their careers end.

Memberships and dues

How much: $497,857 (1.1 percent)

Explain this please: Nevada has to pay annual dues to be in the NCAA and Mountain West.

Bowl expenses

How much: $484,338 (1.1 percent)

Explain this please: These are the associated costs with Nevada playing in the Arizona Bowl last season, but that was still a net positive as the Wolf Pack reported $597,000 in revenue from the game (so a six-figure gain).

Meals

How much: $413,205 (1.0 percent)

Explain this please: Nevada has put more money into feeding its student-athletes, specifically in football with the "Eat To Win" program.

Spirit groups

How much: $317,483 (0.7 percent)

Explain this please: This is the cheerleading and mascot team.

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