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UTAD to receive financial assistance from University

Published: 8:08 PM, 11/21/2012 Last updated: 8:15 PM, 11/21/2012

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

KNOXVILLE-The University of Tennessee Athletic Department will receive funds to help achieve financial stabilization in the wake of change in administration of the school's football program.

University of Tennessee Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced on Tuesday that the UT Athletics Department will stop contributing nearly $6 million annually to academic scholarships, fellowships and programs for the next three years.

"The money was committed under different circumstances and we now need to allow athletics to use these dollars to attain financial stability and invest in the future," Cheek said through a released statement by the University. "We will continue to honor these commitments, primarily through
private gives.

"Let me emphasize, we will not reduce our commitment to students," Cheek said.

The athletic department finished its fiscal year with a $4 million budget shortfall at the end of June 2012. In a press conference on Sunday afternoon, athletic director Dave Hart said the department had just a $1.9 million dollar reserve. According to Hart, most other SEC athletic administrations had between $50 and $100 million in reserve.

With the firing of Derek Dooley, the school will owe the former coach $5 million over the remainder of his contract for the next three years. Buyouts to assistant coaches on staff could range between another additional $2 to $4 million dollars.

Cheek had said during a Faculty Senate meeting on Monday that the school did not have a plan in place to fund the buyouts of Dooley and his assistant coaches.

Hart also said during Sunday's press conference that the school's financial situation would be no roadblock during the search to find Dooley's successor.

"I know that winning championships and competing at the highest level lifts the national profile of the University of Tennessee," Cheek said in his statement. "As chancellor, I am committed to winning both on the field and in the classroom."

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