UK Aims to Financially Compete with SEC Football Powerhouses
By: James Maddox
Recently, the University of Kentucky launched kfundonline.com, a website dedicated to athletic fundraising efforts. One of the main purposes of the website is to help raise funds for upgrades to Commonwealth Stadium where the football team plays.
The website states that the stadium will undergo a $110 million renovation beginning later this year and ending in time for the 2015-2016 season. Stadium upgrades will consist of additional suites and club seats, new press facilities, upgrades to the Nutter Training Center, and a new team store, amongst other additions and improvements. The school is also considering reducing the seating to improve the quality and value of the remaining seats, in hopes of increasing the game day experience for fans.
Known for its prominent basketball program that is coming off a national championship last season, it is clear the athletic department at the University of Kentucky is making strides to compete with their conference foes in football in the financial arena. According to the latest available data, the SEC powerhouses that have won a championship in the past 10 years, such as Alabama, Auburn, and Florida, reported a net income of at least $40 million during the 2010-2011 year; Kentucky only cleared half of that. During that same time period Alabama, Auburn, and Florida spent at least $1.2 million on facility upgrades; Kentucky spent approximately $101,548.
UK seems to be making the right steps to create a more well-rounded athletics program. Their website has also stated intentions to improve Memorial Coliseum where the volleyball and women’s basketball teams play.
Newly hired football coach Mark Stoops took to Twitter to give his stamp of approval of the renovation of the football facilities. He recently tweeted “Renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and Nutter Training Center will be fun for fans and help our recruiting. #BBNUnited”.