Athletics director discusses ballin’ on a budget


Illustration by Andrea Nebhut

Being a college athlete has its perks. Trinity University athletes get to travel out of state for tournaments, play and practice in state-of-the-art facilities and wear some of the coolest uniforms in college sports. But after watching our athletic teams fly to states all over the country, spend the night in hotels, have team dinners and wear Nike apparel from head to toe, one might ask the question:

Where is all of this money coming from?

To an outsider, it might be hard to understand how the money within the athletic department operates. Despite what some might think, a ton of effort goes into the allocation of funds across the board.

“We try to develop a competitive travel budget for each sport in order for each team to be ranked in their respective NCAA region and to develop a strong strength of schedule,” said Bob King, director of athletics. This will be King’s 25th year directing Trinity athletics, and his administration has helped enhance Trinity’s tradition of athletic excellence.

The budget is planned a year in advance, so head coaches and staff are already working on proposals for the 2018″“2019 school year. Each November, the budget proposal is presented to the university and they discuss goals and objectives for each team. Each team’s budget differs due to scheduling requirements put in place by the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Each team has to budget around the mandates put in place by these organizations.

Travel costs are the most challenging to put together in the budget proposal. The budget has to account for number of travelers, airfare, bag charges for the flights, ground transportation, meals and lodging. Although these costs are tough to plan for, the university also has to pay the costs for home games, including referees, table workers, supervisors and more. Teams and coaches also need money for recruiting trips, uniforms, equipment and gear.

No special preference is given to any individual team.

“It’s difficult to compare budgets from team to team, because scheduling requirements for the conference, regional play, and postseason competition vary greatly. Travel costs and equipment costs also vary because of the size of the teams,” King said. “Our goal in the budget process is to develop budgets that will enable each sport to accomplish the goals and objectives of each team. The head coach of each sport is involved in the budget proposal process.”

Previous success of each team does not play a factor into the budget process. While each team does begin with a level playing field, donations do help each team meet their needs.

“Alumni, friends and others may donate throughout the year to an individual sport or area, but the fundraising letter is the only thing we do from the overall department. As to why some teams receive more donations, my best guess is that the teams who are more active with their individual groups of friends, family and alumni tend to get more donations. Sometimes, success also results in unsolicited donations as well, but we also encourage those individuals to work through the Development Office when they give,” King said.

Student athletes all have their own take on their team’s budget, but Trinity student athletes are thankful for what their teams receive.

“I think it’s all about how you manage it, and our coaches do a great job of managing it,” said senior Kate Irvin of the women’s basketball team. All of Trinity’s athletic teams receive Nike uniforms, practice apparel, shoes and more.

Taylor Kim, a junior on the men’s basketball team, is excited for the season’s travel.

“We do get to go to a lot of cool places this year,” Kim said. “We’re going to Oregon and Chicago this year, and we do eat out pretty well.”

Trinity teams are also notorious for traveling all around the country to play some the best talent in the country. This year, our teams will be traveling to several states, including California, Louisiana, Oregon, Illinois and Virginia.