Wednesday, February 17, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 95

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About the Cougar

Harris: Parking does not fund Athletics

$8M sports deficit was covered from other UH sources

By Timothy Guerinot
News Reporter

Profits generated by University dining and residence hall operations helped offset the Athletics Department's deficit, but parking revenue did not, Senior Vice President of Administration Randy Harris said.

Speaking before a journalism class last month, UH President Arthur K. Smith had said $1.2 million generated from parking decal sales went to offset the Athletics deficit, which was $8 million in 1998.

But Harris, the University's chief financial officer, said the deficit was covered using funds from a variety of sources that did not include parking.

"The sports program in 1998 received $255,000 from dining and dormitory auxiliary funds," he explained, adding that the University used $3.4 million from investment earnings, $2.3 million from an endowment given by UH benefactor and alumnus John Moores and $2.9 million from other University funds to make up the deficit.

He said those other funds were $1 million UH received from leasing the space the University Bookstore occupies, $500,000 from campus vending machines, $1 million from the General Use Fee on students' fee bills and $400,000 from events held in Hofheinz Pavilion and Robertson Stadium.

Harris said parking money has only been transferred to Athletics once in the past five years.

"1997 was the only year parking was able to transfer money to the sports program, for a sum of $360,000," Harris said. "Last year, parking received money from other auxiliary funds -- for example, computers and dining -- to help pay for maintenance (and) renovations and to help pay for salaries."

As far as the cost of purchasing parking permits, which Harris called "hunting permits," he said it is reasonable but will increase.

"At one other university (where) I worked, it cost $500 for a hunting permit," he said.

Plans have been made to build parking garages on campus in the near future in order to expand available parking, which will result in an increase in permit costs.

Though money has been transferred to Athletics from University auxiliary funds, endowments and student fees, Harris said the administration hopes to end that practice one day.

"The goal of the administration is for the sports program to run in the black and support areas that need improvements -- for example, parking," Harris said.

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