October 1, 2004
The Board of Tulane heard a report this week on the progress the Green Wave athletics department has made in meeting the challenges presented to it after last year's exhaustive review and vote by the Board to continue to compete at the Division I-A level. Tulane Board member Doug Hertz, who is chair of the Board's intercollegiate athletics committee, presented the report.
According to the report, the athletic department met the financial goals approved by the Board for the year ending June 30, 2004. Highlights for the year included the department raising a record $2.1 million through the Tulane Athletics Fund and surpassing $9 million in total revenues for the first time. The department received pledges of $7 million toward planned capital projects, including the renovation of Turchin Stadium and the Goldring Tennis Complex addition, where construction is scheduled to begin this spring.
The report also notes that the Perpetual Wave campaign, which was initiated in the wake of last year's review to provide sustainable funding for Green Wave athletics, has raised approximately $30 million through private donations toward its goal of $50 million. Most importantly, the report lauded the fact that the graduation rate for Tulane student-athletes was 79 percent, which ranks Tulane 14th among all Division I-A schools.
The impact of last year's conference realignment and the reforms of the Bowl Championship Series brought about by the Tulane-initiated Presidential Coalition for Athletics Reform were also highlighted in the report as positive developments for Tulane athletics.
The report concludes that the Tulane athletics program is on sound footing but says that there are significant goals yet to be achieved, including sustaining the season ticket base for football, growing the ticket base for basketball, increasing the number of major donors to the Tulane Athletics Fund and increasing the athletics endowment.
There is still a lot of hard work to be done, and Doug Hertz explained it well by describing this year's good news as the promising start to a long journey. Nonetheless, this report is extremely encouraging. It shows that we are laying the groundwork for meeting the board's expectations for an athletics program that is a model in terms of academic performance and graduation rates, is financially viable on a sustainable basis and supports the academic mission and goals of the university.
My congratulations to Athletics Director Rick Dickson and his entire staff for their dedication in building a sustainable program that offers the best opportunity for our student-athletes, the most excitement for our fans and the best representation of our university.
Have a great weekend,
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