GAINESVILLE — With $34 million in contributions from its Gator Boosters private fundraising arm, and nearly $17 million from the SEC, the University of Florida approved a $100.4 million athletics budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, an increase of 3.5 percent.
For the first time in four years, the University Athletic Association staff will receive salary raises, effective in October. Part of the budget includes $24.2 million in football and men's basketball ticket sales — $22.1 million from football.
"This budget I feel good about," athletic director Jeremy Foley said Wednesday. "We're blessed to continue to have significant resources from our Gator Boosters organization, from Gator fans, from the Southeastern Conference. Obviously our goal is to compete at the highest level and to educate at the highest level. Those goals don't change. … It's a budget that allows us to continue to be successful, take care of our coaches, take care of our student athletes, take care of our employees and still provide a quality athletic program for this university and for Gator fans."
It's also a budget that is increasing like many others in the SEC. On Tuesday, Kentucky approved its largest budget, $104.4 million — a $12.5 million increase. In 2008-09, the Gators' athletic budget was about $84 million. The university's overall budget, including Shands at the University of Florida hospital, is $3.9 billion.
Florida will save about $1.1 million because of a reduction in game guarantees for opposing teams. The Gators have just six home football games this season because of their game at Miami, but UF will use funds it has been saving over the past four years in anticipation of the lost home game to make up the shortfall. Foley said the Gators stand to lose between $2.5 million and $3 million without that seventh game.
Florida has two upcoming major projects — a $50 million renovation to the O'Connell Center multipurpose arena and a $25 million renovation and expansion of the Office of Student Life. The O'Dome will be funded by $40 million in private donations, $10 million from the university — the building belongs to UF.
"The O'Connell Center has to happen," Foley said. "It's a building that has served us very, very well, but it's also a 32-year old building."
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TBTimes_Gators.