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Penn State Football: Fundraising Continues to Rise, But Upgrade Price Tag Still High

by on July 19, 2019 3:06 PM

Penn State athletics fundraising continues to improve, according director of athletics Sandy Barbour.

Per a tweet by Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call, Barbour told reporters at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago that the department has raised more than $46 million this year. That $46 million includes a handful of unannounced "significant gifts," according to Barbour who noted, per Wogenrich, that a 'big chunk' of that money will go toward facility upgrades.

This number would be the largest of Barbour's tenure. Penn State athletics' financial statements from the 2018 fiscal year reported department "contributions" to the tune of $34.9 million, with $11.3 million in football contributions. The department as a whole reported a profit of just over $10 million with expenses at $155,184,976.

Penn State athletics defines contributions as: "Amounts received from individuals, corporations, associations, foundations, clubs or other organizations designated for the operations of the athletics program; funds contributed by outside contributors for the payment of debt service, lease payments or rental fee expenses for athletic facilities in the reporting year; amounts received above face value for tickets. Contributions shall include cash and marketable securities."

Assuming that Barbour is accounting this $46 million in a similar fashion, and speaking strictly in terms of the 2019 fiscal year, it would be the largest total in the previous eight years worth of financial reports. In 2013 Penn State athletics reported contributions totaling just $24.4 million, $2.2 million toward football. Football contributions have risen every year since 2014 when Barbour was hired .

The previous three fiscal years prior to Barbour's arrival on campus reported $2.2 million (FY13), $9.6 million (FY12) and $2.06 million (FY11) in football contributions. Penn State's financial reports do not delve into the specifics of contributions so it can be difficult to delineate the source of a bump in figures, especially since earlier Penn State reports included the use of assets such as dealer-provided cars for usage as a contribution.

Despite lacking details as it pertains to the minutia, the overarching trend of increasing fundraising and contribution figures remains.

And it will have to. Penn State's ongoing Lasch Building renovation has a bill of nearly $70 million, a project that continues to be privately funded.

When asked about naming rights to various athletic venues, Barbour reportedly told reporters that,"It's absolutely something we would consider. It's not something we would consider for all facilities. It's more appropriate at some than others. Some corporate sponsors, or namings of any sort, are more appropriate than others. But we'd take a look at it, absolutely. And that's athletics holistically, not talking about any particular facility."

Barbour has said in the past that Beaver Stadium is generally not considered as a venue Penn State would consider selling the naming rights for. There has been no official fundraising announcement for any long- or short-term Beaver Stadium renovations.

USC most recently sold naming rights to United Airlines for a 16-year, $69 million price tag.

Penn State athletic's reported contributions (FY/Overall/Football specific contributions)

  • 2018: 34.9 million, 11.3 million
  • 2017: 30.7 million, 9.3 million
  • 2016: 26.1 million, 8.6 million
  • 2015: 27.7 million, 7.47 million
  • 2014: 24.1 million, 7.6 million
  • 2013: 24.4. million, 2.2 million
  • 2012: 25.5 million, 9.6 million
  • 2011: 34.2 million, 2.06 million

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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