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UI overspends on Outback Bowl trip

[ 0 ] April 1, 2014 |

By Sara Agnew / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Louisiana State University defensive back Tre'Davious White intercepts a pass intended for Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Tampa, Florida. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register)

Louisiana State University defensive back Tre’Davious White intercepts a pass intended for Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Tampa, Florida. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register)

University of Iowa officials say the higher-than-expected cost of a charter airplane is to blame for the UI Athletics Department going over budget on its trip to the 2014 Outback Bowl.

According to documents released Tuesday by the university, Iowa spent $2,019,375 on the New Year’s Day Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., which ended in a 21-14 loss to Louisiana State University. That’s $194,375 more than the $1,825,000 budget provided by the Big Ten Conference.

Mick Walker, the UI Athletics Department’s chief financial officer, said the cost of a charter aircraft was the main reason Iowa went over budget, along with a substantial increase in expenses for complimentary tickets and ground transportation. He added that as a self-sustaining unit of the university, the UI Athletics Department will balance its bowl game budget with revenue from its annual operations.

“The main reason we went over is because of the charter aircraft,” Walker said.

According to the documents obtained through a state open-records request, the UI Athletics Department spent $747,288 on a charter airplane to fly the football team, coaches, support staff, families, the official University of Iowa delegation and the Hawkeye Marching Band to and from Tampa — $221,437 more than what it cost to fly to and from Tempe, Ariz., for the 2011 Insight Bowl. The UI Athletics Department paid $525,851 for round-trip charter air service in 2011.

Iowa spent $1,821,192 on the Tempe trip. That was $3,808 less than the $1,825,000 budgeted for expenses by the Big Ten Conference.

In January, the university sent 671 people to the Outback Bowl — the majority of which were students — and spent $762,107 to feed and house them while in Florida, according to the latest report. It also shows Iowa spent $6,178 on entertainment, $36,501 on promotion, $73,580 on awards, and $23,048 on equipment and supplies.

“When we became bowl eligible and throughout our planning process, we anticipated an increase in this expense category for two reasons. First, it was our first bowl game in two years and we knew the cost of charter aircraft service during that time had increased. Second, during the bidding process for this year’s bowl game charters, we learned that demand was far greater than supply, and, therefore, our choices were both limited and expensive,” Walker said in a prepared statement.

Reach Sara Agnew at 887-5418 or sagnew@press-citizen.com.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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