Athletics fee: University overdraft error resulted in $45,000 extra from student-fee-funded account

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 1.05.34 AMA 2011-12 University error resulted in the Kansas Athletics department receiving nearly $45,000 in extra money from a student-fee-funded account, most of which has been paid back to Student Senate.

The account is funded by the Women’s and Non-Revenue Intercollegiate Sports fee, a required semesterly payment of $25 benefiting travel for women’s and non-revenue sports at Kansas. In 2011-12, the year the overdraft occurred, Kansas Athletics’ travel expenses rose by more than $1 million.

In a Monday meeting, an Advisory Board overseeing the fee recommended that the current $25 fee either be eliminated or lowered to $20.

Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony declined to comment on the overdraft, saying the University had better information on the subject.

University of Kansas spokesman Jack Martin stressed via email that Kansas Athletics does not handle the distribution of the student fee money.

“The student funds are disbursed to Kansas Athletics every 60 days automatically,” Martin said. “Kansas Athletics does not control the timing or the amount of the disbursements.”

Martin said the fee payments are handled by the Comptroller’s office and ultimately overseen up the academic chain by the Provost’s Office. Martin added that the University noticed the error in March of 2013 and addressed the problem the following summer.

When Marcus Tetwiler took office as student body president in August of 2013, the error had not yet been addressed, according to emails obtained by the Kansan. Tetwiler emailed Pat Kaufman, CFO of Kansas Athletics, when he noticed a negative balance of $44,704.96 in the account pertaining to the fee.

Kaufman forwarded the message to Jason Hornberger, senior budget and personnel administrator for the University, explaining that he had no knowledge of the overdraft. Martin said the delay was due to staff turnover during the summer.

“All I know is that every so often throughout the year we [Athletics] will receive a wire transfer from the University, and at the end of the year we add up the amount of wires and call it ‘revenue’ on our books,” Kaufman said in the email. “Seems that whoever at the University is responsible for calculating the amount of these wires may have over calculated it at some point(s)?”

Hornberger responded to Kaufman and Tetwiler 15 days after the original email. After conducting research, he explained, the University made a mistake in the late fiscal year 2011 causing the overdraft of student-fee money.

The University agreed to transfer $35,999.52 to cover the shortfall, reducing the amount Athletics received in the fall. The remaining $8,705.44 was not addressed in the emails. There was no interest added to the virtual loan from the student body. Tetwiler said the overdraft has been replenished.

David Catt, the chairman of the Women’s and Non-Revenue Intercollegiate Sports Advisory Board, recommended lowering or eliminating the fee, and stressed that he does not feel Athletics was aware of this overdraft and that the Advisory Board did not discuss the overdraft in its meetings.

  • Updated Feb. 19, 2014 at 10:27 am
  • kcfan20

    This conversation comes up every couple of years or so and has for at least 15 years now. What students need to realize is the student fee is effectively subsidizing the cost of student basketball and football tickets. Athletics will get the million dollars of revenue one way or another. It can either be a relatively small student fee or the price of student tickets will get a huge hike. KU used to have the cheapest student tickets in the Big 12 and is probably still close to that now. And if ultimately fewer students go to the games because of the price hike, student seats will be reduced again.