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Soft-drink contract to bring UCA millions

Officials, faculty split over how best to spent the money

Posted: January 28, 2013 - 8:17pm

A contract for beverage services at the University of Central Arkansas will bring in about $2.2 million, but some academic faculty want the money to fund academic needs — not athletics.

“Everybody should have a chance for a piece of the pie,” professor Don Bradley III said at the Faculty Senate meeting Thursday. “In my opinion, in the past, we haven’t gotten things because we haven’t asked for them.”

The athletics department has likely already asked for money from the new contract, Bradley said. The $2 million from a previous contract with Pepsi also went to athletics.

The beverage services contract was awarded to Pepsi 10 years ago for about $2 million. That money went to athletics needs, faculty said. The contract came up for renewal this year, but UCA has awarded the contract to the Coca-Cola Refreshment Company.

Some faculty said they want some of the $2.2 million the company has pledged to go toward academic needs, like scholarships, but the UCA Foundation, Inc., a private corporation nonprofit benefitting UCA, owes about $1.5 million on the strength and conditioning facility.

“We borrowed the money to pay for the weight room,” said Brad Teague, Athletics Department director. “We got a loan for the facility, it’s how we pay the loan — that’s the question.”

The Foundation took out a loan with a total principal of $1.7 million for the 7,500-square-foot weight room UCA built onto the Pepsi Americas Center, according to UCA documents. That loan was supposed to be paid by a private donor, but the donor dropped out leaving the Foundation holding the debt, Teague said.

The weight center opened last year. Teague said about 400 student athletes use the facility.

Vice President for Advancement and Foundation President Shelley Mehl did not return a message left at her office late Monday afternoon. President Tom Courtway did not return a phone message.

The university has not decided whether to help the Foundation pay for the loan, Vice President for Finance and Administration Diane Newton said. The loan to the Foundation is similar to a construction loan, she said. Teague said the terms were about $100,000 for 15 years.

“We have to pay our bills,” Teague said. “We have to use some money from somewhere.”

But a report from the UCA Purchasing Office in October of last year notes the UCA Foundation “donated” the weight room.

“UCA Weight Training Room completed in January 2012. It was donated to UCA from the UCA Foundation. Current debt is $125,000-$150,000 for fifteen (15) years. Estimated amount owed is $1,875,000- $2,250,000.”

UCA administrators provided faculty looking into the funding of the athletics department with documents that partly address the weight room last fall. The debt for the weight room was to be “funded with surplus on suit leases and NCAA revenue,” according to the document.

NCAA revenue was $525,137 in 2011, according to UCA documents.

Courtway said Thursday some of the money from the soft-drink service contract would defray the cost of the weight room.

“It will pay for itself over time,” Courtway told faculty members Thursday. “We’ve got some obstacles in the short term.”

But for now, the Foundation owes for the weight room, and UCA owes $202,151 on the Pepsi center, Newton said.

During the Faculty Senate meeting associate professor Brian Bolter pointed out other universities use some of their “pouring” revenue for scholarships. Teague said giving the athletic department money from the Coke contract will mean no impact to the budget because that money had previously gone to the department. Bradley said UCA had built a building the university didn’t have the money for.

“It’s becoming real evident that we are building a lot of athletic facilities without having the money for it,” Bradley said.

Bradley sat on the university’s Evaluation Committee that reviewed the proposals from Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He said Thursday he had to sign a letter of confidentiality and couldn’t talk to the media about the details.

The committee decided Friday Coca-Cola is a better deal for UCA. Among the reasons to choose Coca-Cola was that Coke did not specify how the money would be spent, according to UCA documents.

“Pepsi’s proposal earmarks the signing bonus and the pouring rights for debt service on the weight room facility for which they expect naming rights,” according to a report UCA released to The Log Cabin Democrat under the Freedom of Information Act. “This represents useful cash to retire approximately 50-60 percent of the debt on that facility over the 10 year period for exclusive naming rights to the facility. Coke has not designated specific uses for the sponsorship funds for UCA. This allows for more flexibility in the use of these funds since they would not be earmarked for capital expenditure debt service and could go into the general fund instead.”

Letters announcing UCA picked Coca-Cola over Pepsi went out Monday, documents show. UCA will begin contract negotiations with Coca-Cola on Feb. 11, according to the letters.

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alipage72
1638
Points
alipage72 01/28/13 - 09:12 pm
10
3
Of course

the money goes to athletics...anything else would be just weird. I just wish for all the thousands I have to foot out for fees on buildings I never use, I could ever find a place to park when I need to go to class. Oh well, I'm just there for an education, can't throw a ball to save my life.

wisea55
373
Points
wisea55 01/28/13 - 11:24 pm
5
2
Well meadors is gone. Who

Well meadors is gone. Who gets the kickback on this one? Not UCA without someone under investigation.

NoKidding
2460
Points
NoKidding 01/28/13 - 11:36 pm
5
2
Oops!

We built this thing before we were sure that we had the money to pay for it. Nobody can be held responsible for that, can they?

Clell
888
Points
Clell 01/29/13 - 03:19 am
2
8
Athletics

I would guess that 95 percent of all Coke purchases during the school year are made during athletic events. So it makes sense that athletics should get the biggest share of it.

heathen
223
Points
heathen 01/29/13 - 01:08 pm
6
1
Let's run some loose ballpark

Let's run some loose ballpark figures here . . . football stadium seats about 8000 and is usually near capacity; say half those folks buy sodas (my rough estimate from watching fellow fans) at 6 home games. Call it 24,000 sodas. Basketball stadium seats 6000 but is usually nowhere close to that, with the upper seating closed off. We averaged 1348 per game last season; say we make that 1500 if we win some more, over 15 home games, and say half of them buy a soda; that's 11250 sodas, and what the hey, let's double that to take women's basketball games into account. Other sports wouldn't sell nearly as much, but very roughly, we can say we sell about 50,000 sodas at our sports games per year.

During the school year, we have maybe 10,000 students and faculty on campus on a given day. Suppose only one-third of them buy a soda on campus on any given day, over a school year (probably an underestimate). That's 32 weeks in an academic year, times five is 160 days -- that's 528,000 sodas per year from the students in the cafeteria, food court, satellite dining facilities, vending machines, food trucks, and convenience stores. And we're not even counting the summer term, which has not just students, but band campers, Boys State, etc., all buying food and drink on campus.

You could dispute the rough numbers, but changing them won't make that much difference. Athletics doesn't generate anything close to 95% of soda sales on campus. It's probably closer to 10%. Put it this way: If every football and men's and women's basketball game was filled to capacity, and every fan bought a soda, they'd still only sell about half as many sodas as the students and faculty drink throughout the year.

So if you use where the sales are coming from to decide who gets the money, then athletics shouldn't get the majority of it.

BuzzBy
17777
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BuzzBy 01/29/13 - 06:56 am
8
4
Really
Unpublished

Where did you get this "95 percent of all Coke purchases" from number I just made up and pulled out of my booty!?!??!\

What about each and every Coke bought @ the food court and vending machines daily vs football and basketball games?

95% seem just a little high not unlike yourself.

Clell
888
Points
Clell 01/29/13 - 10:36 am
2
4
Athletics

As I plainly previously stated, it was my 'guess'. And I'm not talking about just football and basketball. It would include track meets, baseball games, etc. etc.

BuzzBy
17777
Points
BuzzBy 01/29/13 - 10:46 am
5
5
And Boy
Unpublished

Are thoses stands full during those track meets
LOL

amerkraft
158
Points
amerkraft 01/29/13 - 08:59 am
1
3
Maggio's Son?

Isn't this Judge Maggio's son?
He should have stuck to drinking Pepsi or Coke.

http://thecabin.net/slideshow/2013-01-28/faulkner-county-booked-012813#s...

i_wonder
27122
Points
i_wonder 01/29/13 - 09:10 am
3
2
what?
Unpublished

Someone under 21 had a beer?

That's a first.

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