Athletics expects to mitigate COVID-19 revenue losses in FY ’22


The University of Michigan athletic department expects a budget deficit of $62.9 million for the current fiscal year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and projects a surplus of $1.4 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, presented the year-end financial projections and the budget for the coming year June 17 to the Board of Regents.

For the fiscal year 2021 operating budget, the athletic department projects an operating deficit of $62.9 million based on operating revenues of $88.8 million and operating expenses of $151.7 million. The operating deficit is a result of significantly reduced spectator admission revenues and preferred-seat contributions, as well as reduced Big Ten Conference distributions directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking ahead to FY ’22, the department projects an operating surplus of $1.4 million, based on operating revenues of $180.4 million and projected expenses of $179 million. 

Elements of the FY ’22 operating budget are as follows:    

  • Spectator admissions and preferred-seat contribution revenues are projected to increase by $79.5 million in total due to the return of spectators in attendance. This projection as of the June budget deadline could change depending on spectator attendance limits mandated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.   
  • Big Ten Conference distributions are projected to increase by $9.7 million, primarily due to an increase in television revenues.
  • Salaries, wages and benefits are projected to increase by $6 million due to the conclusion of various expense-reduction initiatives as well as contractual increases.
  • Team and game expenses are projected to increase by $11 million due to the return of normalized team activities, schedules and related travel.

As part of the presentation, Manuel also shared some of the department’s top achievements, both on and off the field.

Michigan set another school record with 499 student-athletes earning Academic All-Big Ten Conference compared with a record of 405 in the previous year and 372 in the year prior. Another school record was set, with 674 student-athletes earning a grade-point average of 3.0 or better during the academic year. Track and field’s Alice Hill (neuroscience) and football’s Adam Shibley (communication and media) were U-M’s recipients of the Big Ten Medal of Honor.

Through June 7, 25 student-athletes earned All-America honors during the year. Michigan had 27 student-athletes earn All-Big Ten first team honors with 12 student-athletes winning individual conference titles.

Despite a competitive season that was significantly altered due to the global pandemic, the Wolverines entered the spring season in second place in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings thanks to top-10 national finishes in women’s basketball (9), men’s basketball (5), women’s gymnastics (national champion), men’s gymnastics (3), women’s swimming and diving (6), and wrestling (5).


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