MSU athletics gets budget bump from IHL

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Mississippi State’s athletic budget has gotten a boost, and the track and field program is going to be the first to benefit from it.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning board of trustees approved a $1.8 million “escalation” of MSU’s 2010-11 fiscal year budget. It was requested because of a surplus of revenue from the school’s 2009 football season ticket sales and television revenue distributed by the SEC.
Because of the budget bump, MSU won’t have to use as much private money to pay for the $3.2 million facelift of its track and field facility, a project that’s due to be complete within a couple of weeks.
The Bulldog Club, MSU’s private foundation, was originally going to foot $2 million of that bill, but now it will only pay $800,000 toward it.
“We’ve been trying to do this since last summer, get the money moved, get it approved to get it to spend on the track,” athletics director Scott Stricklin said. “Basically we had a good year selling football tickets, kept costs down, so we had more surplus at the end of the year than we anticipated.
“We’re just asking to apply it to the cost of the track facility.”
MSU’s 2010-11 budget – not including private money – is now $39,159,182.
The overhauling of Spencer Track was an IHL project to begin with. The rest of the funds are coming from escrow money MSU received from the SEC a couple of years ago, money that had been withheld while the football program was on NCAA probation.
That money was immediately designated for the track project. The new polyurethane surface has been put down, and Stricklin said it will be ready in time for the upcoming outdoor season.
MSU will host three meets this year, on March 26, April 1 and April 16.

Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@journalinc.com.