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The University of Tennessee announced Tuesday that the athletics department will be providing an additional $1 million of support to academics to the UT Knoxville campus each year beginning in 2009-10. The commitment will provide an additional $15 million to the Knoxville campus over the next 15 years.

“This new funding will have a direct impact on the way we educate students, conduct research, and, ultimately, serve the people of Tennessee,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “In particular, the emphasis on graduate education provides vital support to an area that is most important in enhancing our academic profile. The funding highlights the continuing partnership that exists between our athletic programs and the rest of the university.”

The money, which is designated from the Southeastern Conference’s new television contract, will be distributed in three ways on the UT Knoxville campus, in order to ensure the funding has the broadest effect the UT Knoxville student population.

$100,000 will go the Student Success Center, which provides tutoring and counseling services for all UT students. $100,000 will go to the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center, which provides UT Knoxville teaching faculty opportunities for personal and professional growth through programs, services, and resources that promote significant learning experiences for students. Another $800,000 will be used to fund up to 40 assistantships for graduate students in colleges and departments across campus.

“We have always had a tremendous relationship with campus,” said Mike Hamilton, men’s athletics director. “This money will create more opportunities for UT students to be successful while at UT and provide much needed financial support to our great institution during these tough economic times.”

The $1 million is in addition to the more than $7 million in direct cash support the university receives each year. In that amount are a number of other items related to the university’s academic mission, including $1.375 million in academic scholarships awarded to non-student athletes, $107,000 for the turfgrass research partnership, and $75,000 to support the Hodges Library from Orange and White Game proceeds.

In addition to its direct cash contributions to academics, athletics spent $7.65 million for scholarships for student-athletes in fiscal year 2009.

Other money given to UT Knoxville during fiscal year 2009 included:

  • $1.45 million for Thompson-Boling Arena’s operating deficit
  • $1.125 million in annual debt service on five University parking garages
  • $1 million for game day parking, staffing & clean up of parking areas
  • $425,000 for travel and operating expenses for the Pride of the Southland Band
  • $280,000 for Gibbs Hall operating deficit (in addition to standard housing fees)
  • $140,000 from Aramark partnership
  • $365,500 for miscellaneous University support

In fiscal year 2010, UT Athletics total direct contributions to the University system will exceed $11 million with the addition of the $2.7 million in donor support from the Tennessee Fund, which allows academic donors to receive athletic benefits for academic donations; the $1 million through the SEC Television Agreement; and a one-time gift of $375,000 for the Lake Loudoun Boulevard Campus Beautification Project.

UT Athletics is one of only a handful of athletic departments in the country that receives no funds from state subsidies or taxes. The only non-athletic department generated revenue is a $1 million contribution to the women’s athletics department coming from student fees to fulfill Title IX responsibilities.