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ASU AD Ray Anderson Intends to Deal with Finances Without Cutting Sports

Ray Anderson addressed the media today and spoke about what kind of impact losing the season will have.
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The Pac-12 announced on Tuesday that all sporting competitions for the rest of the 2020 calendar year are cancelled. Not only does this have a dramatic effect on the athletes that have trained for this season, but also on the schools’ athletic funds.

Arizona State’s athletic department made $39 million in revenue from football in fall 2018, according to Equity in Athletics Data Analysis. The rest of ASU’s sports, not including football or basketball, made $10.6 million during the 2018-19 school year.

With the loss of its most lucrative season, ASU has a lot of financial finnegaling to do to keep the department with all 26 teams intact.

Stanford already cut 11 sports from its department including wrestling, men’s volleyball and fencing on July 8.

ASU Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson expressed his feeling about this strategy during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

“I've made it very clear that I came here to be in a position to expand sports opportunities because I really believe in the student-athlete experience,” Anderson said. 

“So, I've also made it very clear that we didn’t come here to add sports and then have to eliminate sports. We're going to do everything in our power to maintain the student-athlete experiences that we have here.”

Anderson said that he is confident the ASU president Michael Crow agrees with the sentiment that shrinking the number of sports at the school is something to avoid.

So how then will ASU deal with expenses?

According to The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner, the conference is planning a loan program that could provide $25-$83 million to each school Pac-12 with a 3.75% interest rate for 10 years. Anderson referred to it as “debt financing.”

“Not a loan per se, what they're thinking of doing is some debt financing that says we’ll take an advance on some of our media rights going forward and be able to provide financing,” Anderson said.

“You’d have a bridge loan or line of credit against which you could draw on to make sure you could continue to operate during these tougher economic times.”

Anderson said ASU has not decided whether it will join this opportunity, but it is an option.

He mentioned a few other ways to limit the economic shortages, like additional fundraising, but he made the point that this is a major challenge that will be taken care of without cutting teams.

Anderson is confident that the conference will rebound once the pandemic ends and he wants all of his sports in position to do so.

“Finances will have an impact but it's a matter of how you make the appropriate adjustments on both the expense side and revenue creation side,” Anderson said. “Our view is that we are going to get better. The pandemic is a temporary thing. Quality athletics in the Pac-12 is a forever thing as far as we are concerned."

“When you have short term challenges you have to deal with them and move forward and that's what we intend to do.”