Florida athletic program hit financially by COVID, loses revenue during 2021 fiscal year

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

Florida's University Athletic Association experienced a revenue loss of $36 million during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the financial report submitted to the NCAA for the 2021 fiscal year. 

The UAA reported revenue of $138.8 million in the 2021 fiscal year — from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2021 — down from the $175 million revenue reported in the previous year. 

However, the financial hit would have been significantly greater if not for the Southeastern Conference’s one-time support payment of $23 million to each of its 14 member schools. The $23 million was provided as an advance against future conference revenue.

With the combination of the SEC’s support, a strong balance sheet and the support of Florida’s fans and boosters, the UAA is back to operating under normal revenue for this current fiscal year, according to UF senior associate athletic director Steve McClain.

Without the payment, the UAA would have incurred a revenue loss of $59 million, according to the report. A loss of about $50 million was projected last year

Last year's report:UF athletic program grows revenue, profits during 2020 fiscal year

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Effects of the COVID pandemic 

The UAA reported a $22 million decline in ticket sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a $37 million year-over-year decline in booster contributions, from the 2020 fiscal year. 

The Florida football program reported a total surplus of $15.99 million. That represents a decline of $41.3 million in surplus that Florida reported for football in fiscal 2020.The program had a total operational revenue of $45.779 million, down from $94.9 million a season prior.

The UF men’s basketball program had an operating revenue of $8.9 million and total expenses of $7.1 million, down from $11 million and $9.44 million, respectively, in 2020. 

Throughout the pandemic, the UAA took steps to mitigate potential losses.

The UAA’s total operating expenses declined by more than $18 million, due to a combination of smaller travel parties throughout the pandemic and the elimination of performance-based bonuses and incentives for coaches. 

For example, former Florida football head coach Dan Mullen did not receive any of the six-figure bonuses he had been scheduled to receive in his contract, nor did he receive his $33,000 annual pension contribution. 

The NCAA’s annual report considers revenue but not expenses for ongoing projects, such as Florida’s $85 million athletic complex

The UAA received $8.1 million in capital gifts, said a statement released by the UAA alongside the report., and the NCAA counts those gifts as operating revenue. Spending on capital projects is reported separately from operational expenses.

Each year, the NCAA-mandated report requires programs to report investment gains or losses. Florida listed a $6.3 million investment gain, but, according to a statement from the UAA, the cash has yet to be realized.