Tennessee Volunteers athletics reports deficit of nearly $6.5 million

Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee Volunteers athletics department has reported a budget deficit of nearly $6.5 million for the 2018 fiscal year, thanks partly to hefty buyouts for former football coach Butch Jones and athletic director John Currie.

The school reported revenues of $143.55 million and expenses of just over $150 million for the period stretching from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018. The information was obtained through a public records request and first reported by the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Those expenses included $13.8 million in severance payments. That figure includes money that was paid by June 30 as well as money that was still owed after that date.

Last year, Tennessee reported a $10.8 million surplus and had just over $1 million in severance payments.

Tennessee owed $11.5 million in buyouts to Jones and his assistant coaches.

Butch Jones

Jones was fired in November 2017 after posting a 34-27 record in five seasons. Phillip Fulmer took over for Currie as athletic director in December 2017 while Tennessee was in the midst of a football coaching search that eventually led to the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt.

Tennessee also reached a $2.5 million settlement with Currie that was included in the severance payments.

Under the agreement that was reached last March, the school agreed to pay Currie $2.2 million no later than April 1. The school already had paid him nearly $280,000 from the time he was suspended in December 2017 until the settlement was reached.

Tennessee paid for the deficit through its athletic department reserves, which are now down to about $9.5 million.

Nicholas Norman is the founder of Distinct Athlete and one of the preeminent figures in the digital sports industry. Using his extensive background in sports media, he has built Distinct Athlete into one of the largest, most successful independently-owned sports blogs in the country. Nicholas Norman has worked in sports media for over 8 years, beginning with his time as a student at Troy University. His background includes six years working at the Forward Times Newspaper. Nicholas Norman founded DistinctAthlete.com in Jan. 2012.