Changing oversight of Husker athletics, budget update included in NU Regents’ special meeting

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Changing oversight of Husker athletics, budget update included in NU Regents’ special meeting

On June 23 the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a tuition rate freeze.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will hold a special meeting May 31 to assign direction and oversight of Husker Athletics to the NU system president. The board will also host a budget review.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. May 31 at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St., and by videoconference. It will also be live streamed. The complete agenda is available here.

The NU Board of Regents’ Executive Committee recommended a change be made to bylaws to allow for the Athletics leadership change. In accordance with board bylaws, the proposed change will be a “for information only” item at the May 31 meeting. It will be brought to a vote at the board’s June 22 meeting.

In a joint statement, Tim Clare, chairman of the NU Board of Regents, and Rob Schafer, vice chair, said the change was needed to keep Nebraska on the leading edge during an intense time of change for college athletics.

“Especially at the Power 5 level, today’s college athletics programs are large and highly complex entities, with enormous financial, legal and reputational implications for their entire institutions,” Clare and Schafer said. “Husker Athletics is the single most iconic brand in the state of Nebraska. It makes sense for the president of the university system, with a direct line to the Board of Regents, to have oversight of the program that serves as the front door to the university for so many Nebraskans.”

If approved by the board at its June meeting, the bylaw change would take effect July 1.

The board will also offer a thorough public review of the University of Nebraska’s current fiscal status, budget planning strategies, and future outlooks. Clare said it is crucial for the board to have a discussion before its June 22 meeting, when regents will consider the university’s proposed 2023-24 operating budget.

“Over the past few months, we have heard President Carter accurately describe the significant fiscal challenges facing all of higher education, including the University of Nebraska,” Clare said. “We want to make sure – and we want all Nebraskans to understand through our transparency – that as a university, we not only recognize the fiscal realities before us, but that we are proactively planning to get ahead of them.

“We can’t wait until next year’s operating budget is before us to have a full, frank public discussion about the opportunities and challenges ahead. As a board, it is our highest priority to ensure an affordable, high-quality University of Nebraska for our state. Strategic fiscal management is perhaps our most powerful tool for keeping us true to that mission.”

The presentation will be made by Carter and Chris Kabourek, senior vice president and chief financial officer. Topics to be included are:

  • The university’s current fiscal picture, including campus shortfalls;
  • the university’s cash position;
  • short- and long-term projections for revenue. The university’s day-to-day operations are primarily funded by state appropriations and tuition dollars;
  • short- and long-term projections for spending, including salaries and the impact of ongoing inflation;
  • steps the university has taken in recent years to find budget efficiencies, reduce spending and enhance revenue; and
  • other elements that impact budget planning, such as demographic trends and enrollment management.

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