IOWA CITY — Gary Barta has around 50 million reasons not to be overly concerned about recent cash-flow issues that have impacted the budget of the Iowa athletics department he leads.
Although Iowa has reported combined losses of $6.2 million in the past two years — losses covered by the self-supporting department’s reserve funds — Barta said Tuesday the athletic department at Iowa is “on very strong financial ground right now.’’
He does anticipate one more year of negative cash flow, primarily a byproduct of the $6.5 million settlement of gender and sexual orientation discrimination lawsuits filed by former senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer and former field hockey coach Tracy Griesbaum.
“We’ll take that out of our reserve and we’ll still be able to run our operating budget as long as we manage things fine and we have that reserve fund,’’ Barta said.
Barta confirmed Tuesday that when his department’s budget for the new fiscal year is presented to the Iowa Board of Regents at its meeting in early August that it will include around $50 million in revenue as a result of new Big Ten television contacts.
“Our numbers will be similar to those that are already out there,’’ Barta said.
Documents presented in June to the regents which oversee the University of Michigan indicated that Big Ten contributions to the school’s budget will grow to $51.1 million during the 2018 fiscal year, up from $36.3 million last year.
The growth of $14.8 million is largely a result of new television contracts that go into effect this fall. Sports Business Journal reported last year that agreements with CBS, ESPN and Fox Sports will pay the Big Ten more than $2.6 billion over the next six years.
Barta said much of the new revenue has already been targeted for future use.
He said the Iowa athletic department has hired additional athletic trainers and added a full-time nutritionist and sports psychologist to the staff.
Anticipated increases in dollars spent on athletes’ food and basic living expenses will also be covered with the new dollars.
Revenue distributed by the Big Ten from its television contracts has displaced donations and ticket revenue as the largest source of income for the Iowa athletic department within the past three years.
Barta said he isn’t overly concerned at this point about media rights dollars drying up in the near term, believing Big Ten members are sitting in a good position well into the future.
“You just have to be thoughtful about relying on one particular revenue source. I see while the world of TV might change and how things are delivered might change, I think the fact remains that fans across the country still love the content,’’ Barta said.
“However that content is delivered and monetized, I think the Big Ten is in a great position to move forward for the next 10 or 20 years. I don’t stay up at night thinking about tomorrow or the next day. It’s the next 10 or 20 years we have to be really thoughtful about.’’
Iowa continues to benefit from a generous fan base.
Barta announced Tuesday that Iowa received a record $48 million in donations and pledges during the fiscal year which ended June 30.
In addition to the day-to-day operations of Hawkeye athletics programs, those dollars are fueling continued facility improvements at Iowa.
Barta said plans to replace a 1960s-era clubhouse at the university-owned Finkbine Golf Course will be presented to Regents next month.
Work began earlier this year on an $89 million project to replace and rebuild the north end zone grandstand at Kinnick Stadium and work is also underway on a $6.3 million renovation of the Gerdin Athletic Learning Center.