The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 19 BY JOHN BORTON A massive steel skeleton rises out of the ground off of State Street, grabbing the at- tention of all traveling past. Cranes abound, doing the heavy lift- ing for future U-M athletic success. Golfers at the University of Michi- gan course scramble out of a make- shift clubhouse into an improvised hole arrangement for now, but not for long. A new clubhouse off Sta- dium Boulevard grows day by day. The work goes on, regardless of who sits in the director of athletics' chair. Now it's Warde Manuel, who projected a balanced budget for fis- cal year 2017 to Michigan's Board of Regents in June. Much has changed at Michigan in the past year and a half, includ- ing the AD, the head football coach, the company supplying athletic gear and the aforementioned ongoing fa- cility work. Manuel likes where the department is headed, even as he completes the transition to leading the way. "The department is in a position of strength," Manuel noted in an exclusive sit-down session with The Wolverine. "We have great student-athletes, coaches and staff that are all pulling in the right direction. We're coming off a great year, where we had 12 teams finish in the top 10 nationally and a total of 20 teams finish in the top 25 in the country. "We're in a strong position, with a balanced budget projected, with a little revenue in addition next year. We're in a great conference that is very strong across the board in all our sports. There is a lot of excite- ment here for next year. "I feel very good about where we are and where we're going into the future." Here's a breakdown of several ar- eas regarding Michigan sports, head- ing into Manuel's first full year as the director of athletics. BUDGET IS STABLE Gone for now are the double-digit surpluses Michigan experienced for a few years in athletics. But thanks to a number of factors, U-M didn't plunge into some expected tempo- rary red ink. A year ago, interim AD Jim Hack- ett initially projected a $7.9-million deficit. That forecast didn't come about thanks to a number of factors, including increased football ticket sales and Michigan Stadium suite sales in Jim Harbaugh's first year as the head football coach. Other aspects impacting an im- proved bottom line involved former director of athletics Dave Brandon securing a CEO position at Toys "R" Us, reducing his contract buyout, and the same (to a far lesser degree) with former football coach Brady Hoke. Michigan's funds distribution from the Big Ten also took a $5-million jump, from $27 million to $32 mil- lion. Other impending plusses are Michigan's apparel deal with Nike, eight home football games on the schedule (worth an estimated $6.5 million per contest) and the Real Ma- drid vs. Chelsea soccer game played at Michigan Stadium on July 30. Before the Regents, Manuel pro- jected operating revenues of $161.8 million and expenses of $161 million going forward. An $800,000 projected surplus may not sound like much compared to recent years of the past, but given the future fix for football and other major personnel changes, Manuel isn't complaining. "One of the things I had to do right from the start is to really learn and understand where we were finan- cially and where we were going," Manuel said. "Jim Hackett did a great job in that period of transition of getting people to refocus. "The staff, the coaches have really Manuel projected a balanced budget for fiscal year 2017 to Michigan's Board of Regents in June. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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