UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Despite unprecedented circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics maintained revenues while reducing expenses, thereby enabling the department to increase its overall reserve balance, according to Sandy Barbour, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics in a presentation today (Sept. 17) to the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning.
Barbour presented Penn State Athletics’ organization, strategic plan, various measures of institutional control, peer institution benchmarking and also reviewed five-year historical financials to the board committee.
At the conclusion of fiscal year 2013, the impact of the sanctions and loss of Big Ten bowl revenues drove the reserve balance down to approximately $150,000. Through a combination of investment strategies, expense reduction initiatives and a steady climb in both overall traditional and new revenues, ICA had built a reserve balance to approximately $15.76 million as fiscal year 2020 concluded, Barbour shared.
As in previous years, the presentation noted that ICA supports approximately 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity sports (16 men’s and 15 women’s), with more than 74% of these student-athletes receiving some type of grant-in-aid/scholarship support (367 full grant-in-aid equivalencies). Penn State’s 31 programs rank in the five highest totals among all 130 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions.
Record Academics and Competitive Success
Barbour also presented ICA’s comprehensive excellence, including several of the academic, competitive and community engagement records and accomplishments by Nittany Lion students, who have a school-record 91% NCAA Graduation Success Rate. During the 2019 spring semester, Penn State student-athletes posted a record 3.26 grade-point average, with a record 28 teams earning a 3.0 GPA or higher in the fall 2019.
Since January 2007, Penn State has won 21 NCAA Championships, tied for No. 3 nationally and double the next highest total among Big Ten Conference institutions.
Intercollegiate Athletics has engaged in peer institution benchmarking with its Big Ten Conference colleagues and several other schools nationally, all of whom annually compete for multiple NCAA championships, similar to Penn State. Data from the institutions’ Equity in Athletics Disclosures Act (EADA) for fiscal year 2018-19 showed Penn State is competitive in spending per student-athlete in benchmarking with 12 national public/private institutions – Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Southern California, Texas and Washington. Penn State benefits from economies of scale based on its large number of programs.