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Fiscal Management

So you want to be an AD


When you become an AD, you will be required to work within the budgeting framework of your new institution. As you pursue your new job, take time to learn what kind of budget your target institution uses and what cycle that school is on.

For instance, does the program you’re seeking to join use zero-based budgeting (that is, the process starts from scratch each year) or is it more of an annual rollover process (where the basis is the previous year’s budget)? And what is the cycle? Many budgets run from August 1 to July 31, but maybe your school is different. If so, find out why.

If you have a grasp of how those processes work, then you can talk intelligently about fiscal matters during your interview. People will be paying special attention to see if you’re qualified in this area, so be prepared.

Items in this section include:

  • Athletics department budgets
  • Different types of budgets
  • Fiscal year timeframes
  • Sample scholarship agreements
  • Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) and NCAA gender-equity reporting requirements
  • Links to further your understanding of Title IX

At a typical Division II institution, the budgeting process begins in October and concludes in February. The fact that it takes so long should signal how much preparation is required, along with the amount of review that occurs. As athletics director, it’s not only your job to develop and implement the departmental budget, it’s also up to you to make sure that your coaches understand their budgets and stay within them. As with personnel management, you don’t want to micromanage fiscal oversight. On the other hand, you need to be highly aware at all times about the state of your department’s finances.

You also will need to understand how your athletics grants-in-aid will be funded. In some cases, an endowment may provide annual support. In virtually all cases, however, at least some fundraising will be required. Few people are born with fundraising skills, so seek out opportunities in that area in your current job, even if they don’t directly relate to your current responsibilities.

You also will need to brush up on the National Letter of Intent program, and you will need to learn the proper ways to adjust scholarship money. Most scholarships roll over during the student-athlete’s four-year experience, but the amount of the student-athlete’s aid likely will change over time. Take time to learn institutional policy in this area; also, you should familiarize yourself with NCAA financial aid regulations.

The other items in this section pertain to gender equity. All institutions are required to comply with the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, so make sure you know what forms are required (samples are provided in this section) and who is responsible for executing them. The same goes for forms that support NCAA diversity reports.

This section also provides links that may aid your understanding of Title IX. All institutions are required to meet one of three prongs for Title IX compliance (most Division II schools use proportionality), so take time to learn which one your target school uses.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you understand the different types of budgeting processes and cycles? If not, how do you plan to learn?
  • Does fiscal management interest you or is it more of a burden?
  • How would you hold coaches accountable for their own budgets without micromanaging them?
  • Do you understand how your program is funded, especially with regard to scholarships?
  • Do you understand what’s involved in adjusting scholarship allocations from year to year?
  • Are you prepared to provide the necessary oversight for EADA and NCAA reporting compliance?
  • Do you know what you need to know to ensure that your school complies with Title IX?