FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) FOR DONORS
REGARDING THE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE OUR SPORTS
What were the conditions that led to the President's Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and its decision to reduce the number of varsity teams sponsored by the University of Maryland?
Recently, the fiscal situation in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) has posed a challenge to achieving excellence for our student athletes and for our athletic program. The economic down-turn of recent years and declining revenues have resulted in budget shortfalls. As a result, ICA's expenditures have exceeded its revenues. For several years, the annual operating budget (including facility debt obligations) has been balanced with transfers from ICA's accumulated fund balance or "reserves". The ICA reserves are now depleted and transfers are no longer available to support the deficit. The budget shortfalls will grow in the coming years if the finances and operations of ICA are not changed. As an auxiliary enterprise, ICA must return to being a self-supporting operation. The President's Commission was guided by the paramount commitment of ICA to the success of our student athletes, so that (a) they are well-supported to succeed in their studies and careers after graduation, and (b) every sponsored sport is well-supported to be consistently competitive at the highest level.
How were teams identified for elimination?
The Commission recommendation to eliminate eight teams was motivated by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics' financial situation, and influenced by gender equity interests. Consideration was also given to factors such as whether the Atlantic Coast Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association sponsored the sport, the competitive success of the sport, ownership and adequacy of the University's facilities for that sport, proximity and quality of available competition, level of spectator attendance, and the history of the sport at the University.
Did the Commission consider a decrease in budgets for all of Maryland's teams instead of an elimination of teams?
It is important to the Commission and to ICA to ensure that every team sponsored is resourced to compete for excellence. An across-the-board decrease in budgets would not enable many, if any, of our teams to be nationally competitive, and we would not be able to provide quality academic and athletic opportunities to the majority of our student athletes.
How were the fund raising goals established for each team, and why was it determined that funding was needed for eight years to save the sport?
The fund raising goals were established by taking the total projected FY13 operating budget, scholarships and salaries, plus a percentage of the indirect expenses associated with the program for support staff such as strength and conditioning, academic support and sports medicine, and multiplying that out for eight years. Eight years was chosen as the benchmark for the funding needed to save the sports because it would give the teams an opportunity to recruit four classes of student athletes who would be able to complete their collegiate careers at Maryland without the threat of program elimination.
Are there budget reductions that can be made to lower the amount needed over the eight-year period?
The budget projections are conservative, and do not have many, if any, areas for savings. A number of people have questioned whether or not campus facility rental fees can be lowered. This will be pursued, but at this point, we must move forward with existing rental fees as a part of the projected budgets.
Can a guarantee be provided that should the eight-year fund raising goal for my team be reached, the sport will be saved?
The University of Maryland's continued compliance with the non-negotiable requirements of the federal Title IX law prohibits the ability to make this guarantee. In order to save a men's program, we must also reach the fund raising goal for a women's program with similar squad size and scholarship commitments.
If we reach the eight-year fund raising goal, what is the plan for year nine and beyond?
If the fund raising goal is reached by June 30, 2012, we will then begin initiatives to raise the permanent funding necessary to establish a full program endowment to ensure a competitive and viable program in perpetuity.
If we aren't able to achieve the eight-year funding goal by June 30th, is there a provision for the team to be able to continue if we are near the goal, or if we have enough to fund four years?
This entire process has been stressful for all involved, particularly our student athletes and coaches, and it's not something we want to face repeatedly. Eight years was chosen as the benchmark for the funding needed to save the sports because it would give the teams an opportunity to recruit four classes of student athletes who would be able to complete their collegiate careers at Maryland without the threat of program elimination.
How can I be assured that my gift will only be used for the team that I designate, and not for discretionary use by the Athletic Department?
Gifts to the Save Our Sports campaign will be held in an escrow fund with the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) Foundation, designated specifically for the team you identify. If that team is saved, the donations will only be used to fund that program (scholarships, salaries, operating budget, etc.) for the eight-year period. If the team is eliminated, donations will either be re-designated or refunded, depending on the date of donation. See the answer to Question M below.
Can I make a multi-year pledge for the Save Our Sports campaign?
Because of the financial constraints ICA faces, the commitments to the Save Our Sports campaign must be paid in full by June 30, 2012, in order to be counted toward the eight-year funding requirement. We do not have adequate funds available to cover potential unfulfilled pledges.
I want to support all of the teams. Can I make a general donation to the Save Our Sports campaign, or does it have to be to a particular team?
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the general Save Our Sports escrow fund to be used wherever the need is greatest to help a team reach its eight-year fund raising goal.
Are donations to the Save Our Sports campaign tax-deductible?
Yes. For gifts made on or before December 31, 2011, the UMCP Foundation will issue a tax receipt. For gifts made on or after January 1, 2012, the UMCP Foundation will issue a tax receipt once it is confirmed that the sport will be saved.
If I make a donation to a particular team and that team is not saved from elimination, will my donation be refunded?
Donations made on or before December 31, 2011, will not be refunded since the gift will be made in the 2011 tax year and the refund would be in a different tax year. These donors should use the Gift Agreement to indicate a UMCP Foundation fund to which their contribution should be re-designated should the team not be saved.
Donations made on or after January 1, 2012, will be refunded to donors should the team to which they are contributing not be saved, unless the donor uses the Gift Agreement to indicate a fund to which the contribution should be re-designated.
Will I receive Terpoint credit for my donation to save a sport?
Save Our Sport donors who are members of the Terrapin Club will receive Terpoint credit for their tax-deductible donations. Contributions for the Save Our Sports campaign, which must be above and beyond the annual scholarship fund donation, will receive four points per $100.
Donations to Save Our Sports, can be made online at umterps.com, or sent to:
Save Our Sports
University of Maryland Athletics
2707 Comcast Center, Terrapin Trail
College Park, MD 20742
Please make checks payable to UMCP Foundation.
To speak with a staff member about donating to Save Our Sports, contact :
Cheryl Harrison (301-314-6687) or Julie Potter (301-314-7077)