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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Wilson’s salary will not translate into shortage of funds

A new IU baseball/softball complex has been in the plans of the IU athletics department for more than four years, but its construction progress has been plagued by a series of funding redirections toward other projects.

Now, with a tangible goal of its completion sometime in 2013, the spring sports might finally get new playing and practicing digs akin to football’s North End Zone project and basketball’s Cook Hall.

But a new blip on the IU athletics’ financial radar showed up with Tuesday’s hiring of football coach Kevin Wilson. His seven-year, $8.4 million contract is by far the largest IU has ever doled out to the football program.

It means that IU, with the lowest athletic budget among public schools in the Big Ten, could have had to figuratively pump thunder from a drought to pay Wilson and his future staff, which also figures to be paid much better than the previous administration.

IU Athletics Director Fred Glass quelled these fears during Tuesday’s press conference to announce Wilson’s hiring. Glass said IU both significantly restructured a marketing contract with Learfield Sports and calculated new expected revenue from the Big Ten thanks to 2011’s inaugural Big Ten football championship game.

As a result, IU isn’t paying Wilson on hopes and prayers that the new coach will drive significant increases in football revenue from attendance and other
sources.

“It is not that we are wishing or betting that it will come with more ticket sales or anything like that, although with the success that I anticipate, that will happen,” Glass said. “That would be irresponsible to bet on it to come
that way.”

With the newly found and anticipated money, Glass expects no more delays to getting the baseball and softball complex started. He said he has been trying for quite some time to create a funding structure for the project, which is back on track after derailing slightly to accommodate the football program.

This good news, was not unexpected for IU baseball coach Tracy Smith.
“I think Fred has made this (baseball/softball complex) the No. 1 priority. Nothing he’s done has made me change my feelings from that,” Smith said.

Smith, who coached with Wilson at Miami of Ohio in the 1990s, was extremely supportive of the hire during an interview in his office Tuesday.

If Wilson transforms IU’s football program in a positive way, the 23 other sports in IU’s athletics department stand to benefit. Glass has said many times that he believes football is the key cog to funding IU’s athletics department in terms of both resources and attention.

“I do think it’s very important that these dollars come from a steady revenue stream that aren’t tied to attendance with basketball or football or anything like that,” Glass said. “That will all be gravy that will help the entire department. That tide will rise all boats.”

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