Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Athletic Association will help the university cope with one of its harshest financial challenges in decades by contributing $6 million to support teaching and research.
The association’s board of directors voted unanimously Feb. 4 to approve Athletic Director Damon Evans’ request to provide $2 million a year for three years to support academic programs.
The contribution comes at a time when the university is dealing with severe cuts in state funding caused by a $2 billion state budget deficit. State funding for resident instruction has been reduced by 9 percent for the current academic year.
“This is a great gesture on the part of the athletic board at a critical time in the history of the university,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams.
“I always want to make sure we continue to make financial contributions to the academic side of the equation,” Evans said. “Looking at some of the financial difficulties that are going on around us and the difficulties the institution is having overall, and knowing where we (the Athletic Association) are financially, I think it is the appropriate time for us to step up our support.”
The university has avoided personnel layoffs or furloughs and is handling the cutbacks by not filling vacant positions and sharply reducing such expenses as travel, maintenance and purchases of equipment and educational materials.
Adams said the Athletic Association money will help offset some of these reductions by funding academic and student needs such as purchase of books and journals and travel to professional meetings.
“It’s where the bulk of the money should go,” Adams said. “This is not the kind of money to hire faculty and staff.”
The Athletic Association has made previous contributions to support academic programs including $2 million since Evans became athletic director four years ago.
“It’s just a part we should play, and I’m just happy we are able to do it,” Evans said.