Gamecock Debt: Major Competitive Disadvantage

FISCAL FACTORS COMPLICATE SOUTH CAROLINA’S HEAD COACHING SEARCH  As the University of South Carolina seeks to find a long-term replacement to legendary head coach Steve Spurrier – who announced his resignation earlier this week – it must confront some painful fiscal realities. Chief among them?  A massive $150 million in athletic department…


As the University of South Carolina seeks to find a long-term replacement to legendary head coach Steve Spurrier – who announced his resignation earlier this week – it must confront some painful fiscal realities.

Chief among them?  A massive $150 million in athletic department debt – one of the highest levels of debt in the nation.

“That’s standard in terms of having debt but that’s a little bit high,” ESPN’s Darren Rovell noted this week.

Rovell added that the Gamecock’s red (garnet?) ink could be a major impediment in the program’s search for a new coach because it restricts the likelihood of facilities expansions.

“What does that mean?  It means you can’t really do as much as you want with facilities because you are running out of the ability to – to get money lent to you,” Rovell said.  “That might be a negative for a coach coming in – to be able to keep up with the Joneses.”

South Carolina’s athletics department was slated to bring in $101.7 million during the 2014-15 fiscal year – with projections of $106 million for the current fiscal year (2015-16).  Roughly one-third of that total comes in the form of payouts from the Southeastern Conference.

Last year the program paid out $10 million toward its debt … which is capped at $200 million at the state level.

The Gamecocks consistently rank in the bottom half of SEC schools in terms of budget – but among the top third in debt.

Of course they play in, well, South Carolina … where fiscal recklessness is par for the course in state government.  And where even athletic budgets are replete with wasteful projects (and where taxpayers still pick up sizable chunks of coaches’ multi-million dollar salaries).

While the rest of the state descends further into third world status …

Which brings us to our main point: As we noted last fall, college football is a business – one that should be subject to an un-manipulated marketplace, not some quasi-government scam in which dirt poor athletes (and taxpayers) are brazenly taken advantage of.  The same is true of higher education in general.

It simply isn’t a core function of government …

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: These institutions must be set free to pursue their destinies in the private sector.  Because the last thing we need is state leaders manipulating a debt limit or transferring budget funds in an effort to hire a better football coach.

Not when they keep claiming they can’t pay for roads and bridges without raising taxes …

Which reminds us, the more taxpayers get nickeled and dimed, the less likely they can afford football tickets … especially for a team that was already trending downward prior to this season’s implosion.


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Bible Thumper October 16, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Hogwash! Gamecock Football is not an expense to the state. It’s a huge money maker.

mamatiger92 October 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm

“Clemson University’s seven home football game weekends have a total economic impact of $77 million, according to an analysis that also shows net benefits of $580,000 for local governments and $784,000 for the state.”

I would imagine that Carolina games have a similar impact.

Chester October 17, 2015 at 10:27 am

Pornography and drugs are both. Billion dollar industries, so what?

stumpknocker October 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm

its called Fitsonomics Thumper, don’t argue with Fitsonomics, duh!

fred fatkel October 16, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Hey bible thumper BULLSHIT, or in USC terms chicken shit. Simple solution not only for South Carolina’s institutions of “HIGHER” learning but all state supported schools is cut back on sports and do what they are supposed to EDUCATE.

Bible Thumper October 16, 2015 at 5:17 pm

If they were to cut back on money making sports, they would have to cut EDUCATION.

Facrebel October 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Nonsense -the money that athletics brings in goes athletics NOT education!
They get money because the don’t pay taxes As part of a non-profit university.
In return students, faculty and staff who are not in the athletics department are second class citizen.
Set them free as an NFL minor league or whatever.

Bible Thumper October 16, 2015 at 7:28 pm

If a NFL minor league was a good idea, it would have already been done. In fact it’s already been tried and failed. In fact College football is more successful than the NFL. Just FBS colleges alone have much higher game seasonal attendance than the NFL. That never occurs in a lower league of any professional sport.

You know that if college sports became minor league professional it would plummet in popularity, just like other minor leagues. More people attend college baseball than minor league baseball. Why mess with success. Most people who oppose college sports are those who are not fans of sports in general.

Facrebel October 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm

I’m a big Steelers fan but i don’t like the distractions and mission creep college football, baseball and basketball imposes on a university.

Taos October 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

I was with you until your last sentence, to which I cry BS. I play sports, watch sports, etc, and I certainly am no fan of the NCAA and its PC mission. Further, I’d be a fan of bringing back real college sports, you know, with real college students, not the fake variety that many basketball and football players are these days. So, are you for real college sports or the quasi-professional leagues that we currently have? Or perhaps, you are simply not a fan of sports in general.

fred fatkel October 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Thumper you just don’t have a clue. Once again and kindly try to understand. That state supported colleges/universities were established to provide an affordable education to it’s taxpayers and or children, not to provide “entertainment”. Regarding your inane comment about a NFL minor league, think about all the money the NFL is saving while these big time football factories are picking up the tab. Hmm, as taxpayers are paying for the NFL stadiums to be built or the teams leave for another city.

Bible Thumper October 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm

If the NFL saves bundle and colleges, taxpayers and athletes benefit, then I don’t have a problem.

Cities know the benefits of an NFL franchise and the taxpayers are usually in favor. There are always risks, but most cities have benefited.

You seem concerned that people might make money. They are people like you and me. They spend their money and pay taxes in your community.

It’s no different anywhere else in the world. Tax payers pay for the amateur Olympics or professional soccer. For some it has been a bargain, others fail, but all see value in sports.

Winnie October 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Paying no taxes and no salaries while reaping 100s of millions (as-league) in TV revenue-organized crime would kill for thst deal.

Facrebel October 16, 2015 at 9:28 pm

While the students have no tangible benefit ( lower tuition and fees, better buildings) since athletics only takes care of athletics.

Manray9 October 16, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Fred: An excellent point! Why are state colleges and universities bound to provide sports entertainment to the masses and expensive programming to media conglomerates? Aren’t they institutions of higher education? Unless in the America the “higher education” is in the realization that money trumps everything?

Thunder October 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

And what does it have o o with higher education??????

Bible Thumper October 16, 2015 at 7:13 pm

And what does it have o o with higher education??????

What do cafeterias, dorms, fraternities, sororities, pop concerts, social clubs or all the other eliments of social life of college have to do with education. Sports brings alumni and prospective students to colleges.

I never understood how people like you doubt the wisdom of something that has proven to be so successful. People dedicated to Education all over the country understand the benefits of a successful clean sports program to a college or university. College sports is almost uniquely American. The American University system is the envy of the world. An American College Education is by far the most sought after in the world.

There is a synergy between college and sports that benefits both.

Facrebel October 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm

The reason college sports ‘works’ is because the main actor I.e. players are not paid – it’s a plantation system. And because they don’t have a contract they can’t even get workers comp if seriously injured.
It distracts from the mission of the university.
Most universities the work envies us for (with the exception of Stanford) are not Bid into D-1 sports (Harvard, Yale, MIT, CalTech).

Bible Thumper October 16, 2015 at 7:54 pm

On a plantation the slave has no choices. They do get insurance that not only pays for healthcare but potential lost income.

Sports enhances the mission of the University. Few people in the US would have even heard of Clemson without sports. Prospective students hear about Clemson sports first then investigate it’s academics. I believe 4 million people viewed the Clemson – Notre Dame game. Some will inquire about Clemson academics because of that national exposure.

Facrebel October 16, 2015 at 9:24 pm

A smart plantation owner is concerned about the investment in his slaves.
Clemson is a top 20-25 public university with a great engineering school and a world class computing Infrastructure and department.

Jack Klompus October 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

This is a non-issue in my opinion. From an accounting perspective, a coaches salary as an operating expense has little to do with capital expenditures like facility upgrades, especially when a lot of facility upgrades can be financed, at least partially, by private donors. Red ink is not a good thing overall for he balance sheet but cash flow, which is what pays a coach, is just not going to be a major impediment to hiring a coach at an SEC school. Carolina can afford just about any candidate they would otherwise be able to attract-$4 Million-$5 million per year. Plus, Carolina’s facility upgrades to date are already well above average in the SEC and nation, so there will not be any immediate need to borrow more money in the short term.

Robrto October 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Do you still have the pen?

Yelsewh October 19, 2015 at 6:52 am

South Carolina’s football facilities are far better than they were a year ago due to the addition of the new practice field but you’re high if you think they’re above average in the SEC.

erneba October 16, 2015 at 2:43 pm

There is never an absolute necessity for any government or quasi-government institution of higher learning to fear debt when the tax payer is your go-to slush fund.
I agree with the article, the government supported institutions of higher learning should be privatized. Securing long term financing for major projects and coping with everyday expenses should be accomplished in the open market.
One thing to take in account, when you see a football stadium packed with 85,000 people, remember that only occurs six or seven times a year. And you also have funds from the SEC and various local contracts. It’s a lot of money, but a major university sports program is expensive. Everything associated with a university is expensive.

In general, the university establishment could probably find a way to be more efficient if they were force to be self financing. The costs per student will probably increase, and that could be an incentive for the institution to implement cost saving measures. These people have never known true budget constraints, about time they join the rest of businesses and individual who face that reality daily.

Tony October 16, 2015 at 6:45 pm

And focus on your mission: education and research using competitive federal grant dollars.
Everything else is bs and has made a monster out of USC.
If you ask anybody at USC what the president’s prime concern is they’ll all answer : football.
Everything else is second or third ranked.

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OBS on the greens October 16, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Old Ball Sack resigns and Lamecock U is going to continue to pay him too. Old Ball Sack’s wife is taking time off too so she can travel with him. OBS needs someone to change his Depends shorts. Bet his wife continues to collect her padded salary too.

Squishy123 October 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Someone on CockyTalk said he was in a class with her, I wonder how her grades will be affected by her taking half the semester off.

You're a hateful bastard October 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Spurrier beating your fucking brains out, really affected you, didn’t it? …

Don’t blame Spurrier… blame your Orange-clad deity named Dabo. He’s the one getting millions…

utah October 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Rovell is an idiot and has no clue what he is talking about. He also stated that the debt would have an impact on any buyout of the NEW coach. Those two couldn’t be more unrelated.

Fact is, the debt is being serviced easily, it’s front loaded, and is considered to be conservative by credit agencies. I’ll take their word over a nincompoop like Rovell’s any day.

Jack Klompus October 16, 2015 at 3:49 pm


TARevolution October 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Dude…We know. The future is ALWAYS Bleak. We have the worst people in the world. We’re stupid, and the whole of humankind hates us for being so backward.

All of our elected officials are crooks. They are the worst, and we’re the only state, or plot of land, in the world that is so bad.

Are you really THIS fucking ignorant, or do you just peddle this Bullshit because it’s the only way to keep the miserable fucking leftwing, self-loathing imbeciles who follow you, glued to every word?

TARevolution October 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

So is it time to repeal Title IV…because we can no longer afford to subsidize non-revenue, high-spending sports.

And I thunk that should apply to USC basketball, too. And take the money and give it to the Baseball Team, since it makes money, and gets so few Schollies.

Squishy123 October 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm

The State is reporting that Spurrier, who quit and is no longer employed, will continue receiving a salary for the remainder of the year. So in other words, Spurrier will receive $1 million for not being employed by USCe. Tanner’s response what that’s how it works, his version of “it is what it is”. With ignorant leadership like this no wonder the athletic department is up to its eyeballs in debt, they must take financial tips from Steve Benjamin.

Spurrier way Under-Paid October 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm

If Spurrier got paid for what he did for USC, they’d be paying him for the next 10 years…

Just kicking Clemson’s ass consecutively, and watching you sit there with shit running down your leg, was worth millions to he good people of South Carolina.

LAMO…I’m still laughing at you…You stupid FUCK.

Squishy123 October 16, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Using that logic, Spurrier should be writing a check back to USCe for the last year and a half. USCe’s athletic department is in debt and Dirtpecker fans are spending like Democrats in Washington.

Barry1234 October 19, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Almost all major conference athletic departments are “in debt” if you count their facility construction- Clemson included.
USC’s athletic department takes in more than they pay out each year. That is a good thing considering a lot of major programs across the country can’t say that.

Scrappy October 16, 2015 at 10:53 pm

I hope you TVod it. You will never see it again in your lifetime.

Uscfac October 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Disgusting Pastides !!!!

9" October 16, 2015 at 6:09 pm

gamecock football destroyed the state farmer’s market.fuck them

Get off your ass, and go October 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Farmer’s Market is thriving…better than ever, Dumbass.

Are you too stupid to know that.

ELCID October 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Sorry to inform you, but the State Farmer’s market is losing its ass.
The move to nowhere land has killed it.
No worry, the taxpayers will pick up this disaster too.

Barry1234 October 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm

It’s in a much better place- and actually has a future where it’s at now – it’s up to them to get business.

Rose October 16, 2015 at 6:52 pm

I am so tired of the athletics stuff at USC!!!!!!
All the board and Pastides care about.
Students, faculty, staff, academic facilities, teaching labs, class rooms – go look at em and compare them to athletics and alumni center and law school, and business school.

You Greedy Asshole October 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Those athletics pay for a lot of those academics, you ignorant liberal, cliche FUCK

Facrebel October 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

They pay nothing! What does athletics pay for academics?

Tony October 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm

There is very little or almost n money tat flows from the athletics department to education or academics. Athletic reinvests everything into academics.

Liberal GREED October 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Bullshit. Every athletic scholarship awarded is PAID FOR by mostly football.

All those female athletes living like royalty, getting EVERYTHING FREE are paid for by Athletics. Same with all tuition paid for all those non-revenue Title IV sports.

Those scholarship funds go to pay for Pervert, self-important, liberal professors, who take money WE pay them, to turn our children against us, and the system we built to allow their lazy asses, live so cushy.

Most of you out-of-touch motherfuckers would not know that, because you have no-visible-result jobs…and you’re trained to hate us…the people paying for you to sip wine, pontificate, write bullshit essays, and be slothful.

Tony October 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Who cares about athletic scholarships -most students do not get them. Athletics takes are of athletics nothing else.
And yes as Socrates taught us we will educate your kids and try and turn them into critically thinking progressives with empathy for minorities, respect for gays and lesbians and an understand of the global challenges like climate change. We train them to examine their lives and together with the large influx of immigrants and smart and well-educated foreigners we have hopes to fundamentally transform this state and these United States Into a force of progress and good.
The memories of your debauchery and xenophobic period will be told as we lead tourists through the ruins of William Brice as we now walk through the Coluseum -the one in Rome.
And all you can do is watch and rant…

Facrebel October 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm

No a single cent pays for any professor outside of the athletics department. Certainly not your ‘favorites’ like political science, philosophy, social science, gender studies or history. athletics is a gated community within USC.

Jackie Chiles October 16, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Lol. 150 million debt that’s being serviced with 100 million per year in revenue. Not even largest debt level in sec. Pathetic troll attempt

Slartibartfast October 17, 2015 at 1:48 am

I love fantasy pieces! It makes me feel all gooey inside. Best Wishes to Shawn!

TontoBubbaGoldstein October 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

Sakerlina Athletics:

Alabama budget. Vanderbilt results.

CorruptionInColumbia October 17, 2015 at 12:43 pm

“…it’s a university!”

Lone Ranger October 18, 2015 at 6:42 pm

That’s right—ain’t it funny it’s all about the MONEY but your state legislature is “looking out for you”
Like ripping down your flag and NOT letting you vote—and they want you to REelect them all yet, too !!!


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