Ohio State athletic department projects loss of $130 million in revenue

Ohio State’s athletic department expects to lose out on $130.3 million in revenues following the cancellation of the fall sports season by the Big Ten Conference.

The official projection from the school was included among newly published materials and agenda items for a board of trustees meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The university’s operating budget for the current 2021 fiscal year is up for approval.

Ohio State attributed the sharp drop in income for the athletic department to losses of ticket sales, media rights fees and other conference-related revenues distributions stemming from a fall season.

A view of Ohio Stadium on Sept. 23, 2017, before Ohio State's game against the UNLV Rebels. (Photo: Joseph Maiorana, USA TODAY Sports)

No other specifics, including further financial projections, were included among the agenda items. That includes any projection of a budget deficit, or possible cost-cutting measures in order to mitigate expenses.

The department was in the red during the 2019 fiscal year, the most recent period in which financial records are available.

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Athletic director Gene Smith declined comment on the projected losses until Thursday’s board meeting.

An analysis from The Columbus Dispatch last week showed Ohio State was likely to lose out on more than $100 million in revenues without a football season during this fiscal year, which began in July 1 and runs through June 30, 2021.

The fall season, which was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, could be rescheduled for the spring semester, but no plans have been unveiled by the Big Ten.

Revenue produced by football makes up more than half of the department’s annual operating budget, according to a review of recent financial reports submitted to the NCAA.

The two biggest sources of football-related revenue from Ohio State are ticket sales and media rights, which approached more than $80 million in the 2019 fiscal year.

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