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June 8, 2012

FSU AD Spetman says budget is balanced for 2012-13 season

SARASOTA - Florida State Athletic Director Randy Spetman told the FSU Board of Trustees Friday that $2.4 million budget shortfall reported last month for the 2012-13 season is gone.

Spetman made two deficits known during the FSU Athletics Board meeting on May 2, a $500,000 deficit for the 2011-12 academic year and a $2.4 million shortfall for the upcoming 2012-13 campaign. But Spetman said that a series of adjustments since then and the evolution of the "budget process" has erased that deficit. He said the May report was just a "snapshot" of the budget at the time and it turned out to not be a proper illustration of where the overall athletic budget stands currently. He also took blame for the inaccurate information going public at the time, maintaining that there never was a shortfall to begin with.

"We have the money available. I want to make sure it's reported. We didn't have a shortfall," Spetman said. "We just had to figure out how we were going to allocate the dollars and where we were going to get them from. We have never had a shortfall in this whole process. Money's available to take care of (things).

"I did a poor job in the athletic board of addressing it, and that's why it happened that way."

Spetman said the numbers looked much different in December when they were analyzed, and not that new revenue streams have come to light, there are no issues with the budget.

"There was reports that this year's budget was going to be over. The money we got from this year's budget eliminated that," Spetman said. "Next year's budget has still got to be completed with a meeting between my finance people and the president. And so the gap in December between what the boosters said and what we were requesting, which was approximately $2.4 million."

The budgets were cleaned up starting with a $1.6 million payment from the ACC earlier this month. According to ACC Associate Commissioner Michael Kelly, that figure came from a combination of final television payout and additional bowl revenue. The ACC had two teams (Clemson, Virginia Tech) in BCS games last season. FSU President Eric Barron said the school only received $300,000 to $400,000 last season and called the $1.6 million "a pleasant surprise." Prior to receiving the $1.6 million, Spetman said that the school had taken in "right over" $14 million in revenue from the ACC, which was paid in two lump sums during the year.

During the BOT meeting, Spetman mentioned that the $1.6 million was coming, but he did not specify how that money would be used in the budgets. He said afterwards that the money will be used to cover the $500,000 deficit for the 2011-12 season, which leaves $1.1 million to go towards the $2.4 million shortfall for 2012-13. To lift that deficit, Spetman said that, Barron's approval, the athletic department will dip into a $1.5 million reserve that is held by FSU Boosters that was set aside for painting Doak Campbell Stadium. Spetman said that those funds will be borrowed, then replenished when the increased revenue from the new ACC television deal kicks in.

"In the short term and what we know for the future and we're not ready to paint the stadium for a few years, we were going to go to the president and be allowed to use that $1.5 million," Spetman told the trustees. "So we have closed that gap, and we will go into next year with a balanced budget for next year."

In light of the bleak outlook on the budget earlier in the year Spetman and CEO Andy Miller met and came up with 25 different initatives to raise revenues. Spetman mentioned better-than-expected Booster contributions - the Booster fund is up 7.5 percent from last year, totaling $10.8 million - and the possible restructuring of the south end zone of Doak Campbell Stadium as ideas for more revenue.

"We took it to committee, we set our budget back, we looked at it, we looked at all the different avenues in that regard and (Boosters CEO) Andy Miller and I looked very closely in where we could go with that in that we reduced our budget by an additional $1 million and then went with Andy and we started a series of initiatives, 25 different initiatives we put in place, (sources of additional revenue) have come up that we didn't know were going to happen."

New BOT Chair

Allan Bense of Panama City was named the new chairman of the FSU Board of Trustees on Friday. He was nominated by Andy Haggard, who served as the chairman the past two years. Bense begins a two-year term.

Haggard praised Bense's economic and business background as an asset to the BOT moving forward. Bense was the only nomination.

"I'm humbled and honored that you would elect me as chairman," Bense said.

- For expanded info on the FSU budget, stay close to Warchant.com.



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