Athletics and Institutional Support

I think about 14 NCAA schools athletic programs had excess of revenues over expenditures last year.  In the world of profit accounting, their athletic department made a profit. So, let’s see…if about 1,000 schools belong to the NCAA and 14 schools made a profit then…98.6% of schools had to rely on at least some institutional support last year to survive.

Without ever studying the numbers (but relying on my 20 years in college athletics experience) I will venture a guess that most schools provide at least 90% plus of the funds an athletic department needs to function.  Those of us with small arenas (arena is a funny haha word – more like gymnasiums) have a limited ticket revenue stream.  And then there is that silly thing called winning which contributes to the equation.  Let’s face it, those of us who have to budget need to assume the team will have a losing season without much walk-up game-day business.  When there is success then the “extra” revenue can be used for “extra” things rather than for the business of running the department.

Have you noticed that no expense is going down?  Funny thing!  While we experience flat line budgets things like transportation, equipment and the biggest money sucker of all, officials, are going up like a skier on a tow rope.  I call officiating an unfunded mandate.  While it’s tempting not to pay them…well…you know…

Here is another thing about institutional support.  The ability (and willingness) to fundraise can change the amount and percentage of institutional support.  This was something I worked hard to educate folks about during our current self-study.  For our example our fictional school has a general student ratio of 45% men and 55% women.  Let’s say the Men’s Table Tennis team has a coach who is a prolific fundraiser.  He is a world champion and has an international following.  He receives donations which he uses for team travel and recruiting and the players are decked out in the newest clothing and have state of the art equipment.  The Women’s Table Tennis team has the exact budget as the men at the beginning of the year, $250,000.  The men spend $300,000 and women spend $275,000 but the men’s deficit is covered by their booster money.  In spending dollars the men outspent their female counterparts by $25,000 bringing the balance to 52% male and 48% female. OH NO!  But wait, there’s more!  In reality the actual institutional support is $250,000 for the men and $275,000 for the women now showing the actual balance at 48% male and 52% female.  Ahhh…much better…

Here is another question: should the men’s program be limited to how much they can spend even though they work hard to raise it?  Is that really what we mean when we say “gender equity?”

As we embark on a complete organizational review at our school, part of the new initiative begun by our new president, I have to remind the committee that if they are looking at athletics as a profit making venture they are going to have to move to one of those rare 14 schools that flipped their program last year.

Life is good!


Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta


30 Things I’ve learned From My Husband

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1                    Some people like ketchup on eggs

2                    If you imagine a golf hole the size of a garbage can you have a great chance to two putt

3                    Don’t spend it ‘till you got it

4                    The Red Sox rule

5                    A man can watch TV with his eyes closed

6                    Rum and tonic needs a lemon wedge

7                    Look inside for validation, not outside

8                    The grill really IS his domain

9                    In times of crisis it’s good to go to church…just in case

10                Plan for tomorrow and live for today

11                Even when you don’t like each other you will always love each other

12                It’s ok to marry the first person you meet at freshmen orientation

13                Giving to others is most meaningful when they don’t know you’re doing it

14                Even after the worst winter the grass always grows back

15                Surviving the bad times make the good times oh so sweet

16                Being a good father is easy when you are willing to make the hard decisions

17                Time is way more valuable than money

18                Be a Weeble – learn how to wobble but not fall down

19                Ignore the steaks for 10 minutes and they will be perfect

20                Be a Buffalo fan, even when it hurts

21                Take satisfaction in a job well done, even if no one else knows you did it

22                Not all family is connected to you by blood

23                Never interrupt

24                Don’t scream when the goalie comes out of the crease – it’s only a delayed penalty

25                Sunday dinner is important, even if it’s just the two of us

26                Even the most mundane tasks, done without prompting, scream I love you

27                Even after they driest summer the grass always grows back

28                Apologizing after an argument is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength

29                A round of golf didn’t happen unless you can remember every shot

30                When he said he would love me and honor me all the days of my life, he meant it.

Here’s to you, Tommy on 30 absolutely incredible years!  Happy anniversary.

Life is good!


Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta

We Survived the Teen Years!

My baby is 20 years old today.  We made it!  The teen years are now in the rearview mirror…where did they go?

It was just 2003 when he was in 8th grade at St. Peter’s School in Lewiston.  They were fundraising for their class trip to Splash Mountain in Erie, PA.  There were only 16 kids in his class at that point and they seemed to have passed that petty junior high nonsense. 

Age 14, as a freshman at Canisius High School, he endured one of the biggest disappointments of his life: getting cut from the swim team.  It was a hugely humbling experience which he ultimately turned around by working out, eating better and swimming more with his club.  By senior year he was voted a captain and contributed to another championship.

Age 15 was frustrating for him because his high school friends were largely located 45 minutes from home with the reliance of parents to get them together.  This was the year where all he did was wish away time…I wish I could drive…I wish I could just go out with my friends without it being a huge production…I wish I were older…I wish…I wish…I wish…

Age 16 – oh, how I remember this day!  Anthony, being Anthony, had done all the research and knew what pieces of ID we needed to get his learners permit.  He probably lined them all up in a folder, clearly marked.  I had the folder with me when I dropped him off at school with the understanding I would pick him up immediately following school and bring him to the DMV.  I picked him up but realized when were nearly on the Grand Island bridge that I forgot the neat folder of ID in my office.  We had to go back, delaying us about 35 minutes.  We got to the DMV at 3:55pm and the woman at the window would not process the paperwork and let him take the test.  You see, there was a clearly marked sign explaining that right next to the window…in four languages so it would be understood by all parents and guardians from all walks of life and continents.  Needless to say, he was not a happy camper.  Bad mother.  I did bring him to the Power Vista parking lot near Niagara University and let him drive around there.  If I was busted, I didn’t care.  Arrest me for letting my “undocumented minor” drive around a parking lot!

Age 17 – college applications were nearly done and waiting for guidance to complete the process.  Little did I know, that was when the true teen angst (his and mine) would begin.  My angst: him driving at night.  His angst: where to go to college.

Age 18 and 19 – freshman and sophomore year at Fairfield University, accounting major and swim team…

We had dinner with him on Friday, saw him swim at UConn Saturday and took him to breakfast this morning.  Zoom zoom…he’s 20!

The older I get, the faster time goes!

Life is good!


Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta

College Committees-Be Careful What You Wish For

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So here you are, on that coveted committee in your beloved institution of higher learning.  Congratulations!  Or is it a good thing?  Maybe not so much!

You have to time decisions with a calendar, not a clock in higher education.  We have committees for just about everything.  There is probably a committee to study whether there are too many committees on campus.  In any organization, culture shift is a slow process but higher ed brings it to a whole new level.  I graduated from college 30 years ago and there are still several committees on campus studying the same issues we studied in the 1970’s.  Seriously, I am not making that up.  When I was in school, core curriculum was a hot topic and as it turns out, they have been studying it with great fervor for nearly this entire new millennium. 

Committee work is a curious process on a college campus.  We are “highly educated” and tend to look at 72 sides of each issue.  We make sub-committees of our committees and then spend weeks coming up with convenient times to meet.  The sub-committees need to report to the committees and tend to exhaust the angles. Nowhere in the world is form over substance more revered than on a college campus. 

So, the next time you want to be on a committee, keep your hand down…even if it is only to order pizza!

Life is good!

Jude Russo Caserta

Twitter: JudeCaserta

Linkedin: Jude Russo Caserta


Grilled Turkey Sandwiches

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An Original Recipe by Jude Russo Caserta

One loaf flat Ciabatta Bread or 4 Kaiser Rolls

D’Avolio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove

Slice bread or rolls in half and put under broiler until lightly toasted

Brush D’Avolio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and rub garlic over bread.

Layer turkey on bread and with slotted spoon, drain salsa and put on top.  Press down.  Slice bread in quarters.  Serves 4

Variation: layer slices of fresh mozzarella cheese on salsa

Mango & Orange Pepper Salsa

An Original Recipe by Jude Russo Caserta

5-6          Green Onions chopped about halfway up green

1              Orange Pepper, diced

1              Mango, diced

1              Large Tomato, seeded and diced

¼             Cup D’Avolio Grapefruit White Balsamic Vinegar

¼             Cup D’Avolio Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients together and let sit at least two hours, stirring occasionally, before serving.

Grilled Turkey

An Original Recipe by Jude Russo Caserta

12-15 lb                Fresh Turkey

Seasoning mix:  Corse Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic & Herb Seasoning

1/4 Cup                D’Avolio Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 Cloves               Garlic, smashed

Prepare charcoal grill for indirect heat.

Mix seasoning in small bowl.

Rinse and pat dry turkey. 

With hands, sprinkle some of seasoning mix into turkey leaving half for the outside.  Smash 4 of the garlic cloves and put inside the turkey.  Pour D’Avolio oil on turkey skin and rub well with hands getting over wings and down the sides.  Sprinkle remaining seasoning on turkey and rub in well.  Roast until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Remove turkey from grill and cover with foil.  Let cool and slice.  Makes lots and lots of servings.