Can UK t-shirts help fund faculty raises? Todd says so

03/31/2011 04:16 PM

University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. said he still hopes to be able to provide raises to faculty and staff and one source of money is extra licensing royalties from UK t-shirts and gear fueled by basketball fever.

UK splits the earnings from royalties between the athletics department and the school’s general fund. In past years, the amount going back to the university for operations and salaries was about $650,000.

In the last year, that figure soared to more than $1 million, Todd said in an interview that aired on Wednesday’s edition of Pure Politics.

“I know that that ‘UK-2K shirt was the biggest seller that Nike ever made and that helped us out,” he said, of the shirt sold last year after UK’s won it’s 2,000th game. “We will very likely be willing now — with the royalty stream having increased and the feeling we have that it will stay at the level that it is now or go up — to budget some of those licensing numbers and use that for salary increases.”

While the licensing royalties for t-shirts and other items isn’t enough alone to provide raises, UK officials have been looking for extra money. The Arts and Sciences College, for instance, brought in $2 million more than expected by expanding its online courses, which come with less overhead.

Todd also said he expects UK’s tuition rate increase next year to be “somewhere in that range” of about 5% or 6%.

“We will try very hard to keep it down as low as we can,” he said.

Todd sat down for the interview on campus Wednesday before flying to Houston for UK’s game Saturday against the University of Connecticut in the Final Four.

Todd is in the final months of his tenure as UK’s president after he announced he would retire this summer. And this is the first time the Cats have made it to the Final Four during his presidency, which began in 2001.

“What really makes it sweet is we didn’t expect it,” he said.

Todd also answered questions about the future of Rupp Arena. He said he’s trying to keep an open mind about whether it’s better to build a new arena across the street or renovate the existing structure.

But he said he doesn’t want to move the arena on campus.

“I hope the next president doesn’t either,” he said.

- Ryan Alessi


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