Nov. 12, 2005
The University of Tennessee fall meeting of the Athletic Board, held Saturday morning, was highlighted by the announcement that the university had received its letter of re-certification from the NCAA and that over the next two years 11 major facility projects would be underway and/or completed to upgrade the total athletic plant.
Athletic Director Mike Hamilton stated the re-certification process took more than one year to complete, and it was a work that included many phases of the university. It was also important to note that re-certification was granted without pending conditions.
Hamilton also stated his pleasure from the competition side that Tennessee had its best showing in the 12-year history of the Sports Academy Directors' Cup, finishing eighth among the best overall collegiate athletic programs in the nation. Adding to that success was a third-place ranking in the Excellence in Athletics Cup, which measures all-around achievement in both academics and athletics. In that poll, Tennessee finished behind only Duke and Stanford and was the highest-rated public institution.
Stressing facility improvements, the one major hurdle that was overcome was the groundbreaking of the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center last month. The $24 million swimming and diving facility is expected to be completed for the 2007 season. Other projects over the next 24 months include the completion of the McKenzie-Lawson Athletic Facility, phase one and two of the Neyland Stadium Renovation Master Plan, an upgrade to Lindsey Nelson Baseball Stadium, construction of the Regal Soccer Stadium and an on-campus softball stadium as well as construction of a basketball practice facility adjacent to Thompson-Boling Arena and an upgrade to suites on the arena's concourse level. The one project still pending additional review is the golf practice facility to be located on Alcoa Highway.
From a financial outlook, Hamilton noted his pleasure in the growth of the athletic endowment fund to more than $20 million, and stated that the athletic department plans to add an additional $1 million per year to that fund. The final 2004-05 budget for men's and women's athletics reflected $69,239,665 in revenues against program expenditures of $67,958,839. Taking into account athletics-generated profits and university transfers, the program reflected an overall cash loss of $50,131 (university transfers included $1.375 million in non-athletic scholarships as well as distributions in regards to the operation of Bill Gibbs Hall, and debt-service retirement on university parking garages).
Additional items of discussion included reports by the board's three standing committees, which met Friday: Academic Integrity/Welfare-Conduct of Student-Athletes, Fiscal Integrity/Long-Range Planning and Governance/Compliance and Equity. Those reports involved the completion of a new compliance manual (the first-ever consolidated manual for both men's and women's sports) as well as a formal travel policy formulated for both men's and women's sports.
Pending changes in the NCAA's Academic Performance Review (APR) system were discussed, and the committee was hopeful that such changes would result in a positive effect for Tennessee in future APR listings.