The University of Tampa’s Athletic Department receives money from institutional funds, direct donations from alumni and fundraising by the Athletic Department directly.
The split is about 60 percent from the institution and 40 percent from donors and fundraising, according to Athletic Director Larry Marfise.
As a Division II athletic program, UT can fund approximately two-thirds of the amount of money Division I schools can.
Although Tampa teams often post winning records including conference and national championships, they appear on the lower spectrum of the amount of athletic grants given, compared to other Division II schools in their conference.
‘Lynn University and Nova Southeastern give a lot more athletic aid,’ said Marfise. ‘They have to’hellip;why would you want to go to school there?’
According to Marfise, Tampa fields roughly 400-500 athletes, including both varsity and junior varsity squads.
He estimates that 70 to 80 percent of these athletes are in-state students. He thinks that scholarships such as the FRAG (Florida Resident Access Grant) and Bright Futures (funded by the Florida Lottery) draw more in-state students to pursue their academic and athletic careers at UT.
The funds given by the institution are predetermined per sport, and the coaches are responsible for the care of their portion.
The funds do not increase per year either, so the money must be budgeted accordingly.
‘Very few kids are here on full scholarship,’ Marfise said. ‘Just about everybody is paying something to go to school [at UT].’
Marfise added that if everybody was given a full ride, only about five percent of UT’s athletes would receive aid.
‘The majority of kids don’t have athletic scholarships or any athletic aid.’
The university’s athletic scholarships have not felt any direct effects of the recession yet, but are experiencing some nuances.
‘More and more kids are asking for athletic aid,’ Marfise said. ‘We encourage all of our students to go through the financial office to get all the aid they can.’
The University of Tampa’s placement in the city and overall aura draws many athletes to venture to UT.
‘We are lucky because Tampa has so much to sell and the university has so much to sell,’ Marfise said.
Coaches budget their money in a way such that the majority of their funds go to incoming freshman so they can build and mold their own players.
However, if there is a need in a specific sport the athletic department will seek a junior college transfer student to fill the void.
According to Marfise, ‘less than 10 percent [of athletic scholarships] goes to fill needs with recruited upperclassmen.’
When a player transfers from UT, or quits playing their respective sport, their awarded scholarship money comes back to the athletic department for additional grants.
Marfise takes no claim for the financial strategy.
They coaches have spent their money very wisely and continue to recruit in a financially efficient manner.
‘I really credit our coaches,’ Marfise said.
‘Chris Catanach, our volleyball coach particularly and [baseball] coach [Joe] Urso do a great job with the money they have.’
Because the athletic department cannot go out and literally ‘buy’ athletes they depend on the city of Tampa.
Thus far the winning tradition itself has not failed to bring the top talent to one of the top universities.
Kyle Bennett can be reached at email@example.com