On Tuesday, UB Athletics launched the “Make it PossiBULL Campaign” in anticipation of the future financial shortcoming as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign is designed to pay for student-athlete health, scholarships, COVID-19 testing and the overall expenses of operating a collegiate athletics program.
UB, as well as other athletic departments across the country are experiencing the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When finalizing their budget in the summer, UB realized they were going to have a significant financial shortfall, close to $8 million in budget deficits.
“We approached that deficit by creating operational efficiencies to somewhat close a gap,” UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said. “But as we continue to move forward and especially after the announcement of the postponement of fall sports, we realized that deficit was going to grow some more.”
Recognizing the importance of an increase in COVID-19 testing costs and the loss of ticket revenue, Alnutt said UB decided to give the project a shot.
“After you have some conversations both internally and externally, we thought that, hey, now would be the appropriate time to to launch a campaign,” he said.
The campaign focuses on the costs most related to COVID-19, so that future years of UB Athletics won’t be negatively affected.
“It positions us to truly cover these COVID-19 related costs for this upcoming year rather than trying to pull some funding that might affect your next year scholarship budget,” Alnutt said. “That's definitely a key to all this, to be able to cover these costs that are directly related to COVID and not have to take from other areas of our department.”
With a $1 million cash goal, the campaign relies heavily on outside investors, and is focused on getting the program back on its feet after a turbulent six months. After seeing the generous offerings from season ticket holders, UB became more confident the campaign could work, according to Alnutt.
“Once football was postponed there were quite a few of our season ticket holders that didn’t ask for a refund, they were like, ‘hey, you guys could hang on to that,’” Alnutt said.
By explicitly stating where money generated through the campaign will go, Alnutt is confident the public will appreciate the program's clarity.
“We want it out there from a transparency standpoint, so it wasn't going [towards] something that's the next shiny new toy or facility or what have you, but something that continues to allow us to operate in a manner to prepare our student athletes to compete whenever competition starts back up again,” Alnutt said.
Anthony DeCicco is the Senior Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @DeCicco42.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found playing video games, watching ‘90s Knicks games and arguing with people on NBA Twitter at 3 a.m.