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BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe talks with the media during a roundtable discussion on campus Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Provo. (Brandon Judd, Deseret News)
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BYU AD Tom Holmoe Projects $20M ‘Financial Shortfall’

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe talks with the media during a roundtable discussion on campus Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Provo. (Brandon Judd, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – For the last 15 years, BYU athletics has operated without an annual financial loss. The novel Coronavirus pandemic has shown us that no business or entity is immune to the virus’s setbacks.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe spoke in a video released late Friday night, that featured an “All In” campaign for BYU athletics. Holmoe asked BYU donors, fans, and supporters to donate to the athletic department.

“Despite all of our current efforts, we are projecting a financial shortfall just short of $20 million by the conclusion of the 2021 athletic season,” said Holmoe. “You may have never had the opportunity to give before. You may have never been asked. I’m asking now. Now is the time to give. $10, $100, $1,000, or even a million dollars. Whatever you’re able to contribute.”

The global pandemic has taken a toll on BYU

Ticket sales are a big portion of BYU’s athletic department revenue. Last year, in the 2019-20 athletic year, ticket sales made up 26 percent of the athletic department’s revenue. That has been wiped out due to COVID-19. Only two BYU home football games have had paying customers in attendance this season.

“Along with every athletic department across the country, this global pandemic has taken a financial toll on us. Strong sources of revenue like season tickets and sponsorship dollars have taken a big hit,” said Holmoe. “And COVID testing has become a major expense on top of that.”

COVID testing has been a major hurdle for nearly every athletic department in collegiate athletics. BYU football players are testing three times a week with saliva-based testing. The Cougar basketball team is testing every other day with PCR testing. Those are high costs to put out the product every week.

Athletic Department asks for help

“As a department, we’ve worked hard to be financially responsible in the face of the COVID pandemic. BYU Athletics has been a self-sustaining entity for more than 40 years and is one of the few athletic departments in the country that has operated without an annual financial loss for the last 15 years. We’re not funded by an external entity. We do not receive money from tithing funds, as we believe that money goes to a far greater use. We work to achieve more success without overspending while still maintaining nationally-ranked teams. Not many power five teams can claim that.”

Near the end of the video, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, BYU greats Jimmer Fredette, Vai Sikahema, Steve Young, Jim McMahon, and Vice President Deseret Management Corporation and CEO of Deseret Book Sheri Dew said the phrase, “all in.”

Patti Edwards, the wife of the late LaVell Edwards, was also on the video and closed it out by saying, “I am all in. And I know that LaVell would be too if he were here.”

Individuals who are looking to donate to BYU athletics can donate at give.byu.edu/AllIn.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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