UL Athletics Director Scott Farmer was beset by bowl-game spending questions Thursday.
The Daily Advertiser reported in its Thursday edition, as part of a story on the Sun Belt Conference's new arrangement for distributing bowl-game income, that the department incurred $750,000 to $775,000 in expenses in last year's R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl trip.
Even Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson asked Farmer about those numbers, thinking they were high.
"I keep telling people how expensive it is to come to a bowl game," Farmer says. "It's not just the trip itself ... absolutely everything associated with us getting a bid and playing in a bowl game is included in that number."
UL generated just over $1 million last year from its New Orleans Bowl trip, leaving a profit of approximately a quarter-million dollars.
Farmer enumerated several areas of expense that most fans and followers may not realize, among them but not limited to:
* Housing and feeding a large traveling party. The UL athletic party fills approximately 125 rooms at the New Orleans Marriott for five nights at full rack rate (the Sun Belt assigned the hotel), and that doesn't include the various university administrative staff that is also on hand for a shorter amount of time.
* Band and spirit groups. The Pride of Acadiana band, some 300 strong, was on hand for four days last year for a significant hotel, meal and transportation tab. The cheerleaders and dance line adds three or four dozen more to that party.
* Coaches' bonuses. The UL coaching staff has bonuses built into their contracts for making it to a bowl game. Head coach Mark Hudspeth has the largest bonus, but the nine assistant coaches all are compensated for bowl invitations and successes.
* Other employees. The department paid untold hours of overtime to staff who were eligible for that, including a ticket office staff that routinely worked 12-or-more-hour days from the time that UL received its bowl invitation.
* Team housing and meals. It's not just the bowl trip ... since the team had to remain on campus after its Dec. 1 regular-season finale, the athletic department has to pick up the tab for team housing and meals from the time the fall semester ends until they depart for the bowl game. This year, that was an extra two weeks of room charges and per diem for a team party that numbers well over 100.
* Rings and bowl gifts for players and staff, not to exceed NCAA guidelines.
"There's a lot more than those," Farmer says. "Everything that's triggered by us going to a bowl figures into that."
This year, with the new regulations requiring the revenue split with the conference, Farmer says UL's total income will obviously be smaller. He was the only league athletic director to vehemently oppose the new regulations.
"The schools that had never been to bowls were all in favor of it," he says. "The schools that had been to bowl games, they all had new athletic directors who didn't know what was going on. I was a one-man fight."
Farmer says the regulations are in place just for this year, and the process will be revisited by the league's AD's this spring.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.