<
>

Wyoming AD has a plan to improve athletic teams

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- University of Wyoming athletics director
Tom Burman is crafting a plan to make UW more competitive in the
Mountain West Conference by improving both recruiting and
scheduling.
In the last 10 years, only men's basketball has won a conference
championship.
Burman said he is creating a Competitive Excellence Plan that
"will guide our decision-making process during the next few
years."
The plan will cost an estimated $800,000.
Burman said he hopes to get $400,000 from the Wyoming
Legislature and match that with self-generated funds like
donations, ticket sales, media contracts and merchandising.
Under the plan, $195,000 would go toward increasing recruiting
budgets, with most of the money going to the three biggest sports:
football, men's basketball and women's basketball.
"All of our coaches will tell you that they could do a lot
better job of recruiting with more money -- across the board,"
Burman said. "... I want our coaches to be in a position where
they don't blow money, but a coach shouldn't have to worry a couple
of weeks before signing day if they can make one more last-minute
trip somewhere."
Bill Sparks, chief financial officer and associate athletics
director for UW, said the average recruiting budget for all sports
among MWC schools is about $600,000 annually during the 2005-06
sports season. UW spent about $460,000.
UW football coach Joe Glenn said it costs about $1,000 to bring
a recruit to Laramie for a weekend official visit, which includes
airfare, accommodations and meals, and about $1,500 to send a coach
out recruiting for a week.
Where this new money would help the most, according to most
coaches, is in getting recruits to Laramie.
"When you fly a kid into Denver, you spend about four to six
hours in a car picking them up and taking them back to the
airport," Glenn said. "When you only have 48 hours for a visit,
you would like all the time you can on your campus and around your
program.
"But flying kids into Laramie or even Cheyenne is a lot more
expensive."
Extra money also would enable UW coaches to subscribe to more
recruiting services or upgrade their current service levels.
As for scheduling opponents, Burman wants to schedule teams,
particularly in football, that UW fans want to see.
"I think Wyoming fans and this administration want to see
Wyoming line up against the best opponents we can on a yearly
basis," he said. "If we can get teams from the Pac-10 and Big 12
conferences to do a home-and-home with us, we have to roll the dice
and see what happens."
Burman said to secure a home-and-home series with Pac-10 or Big
12 schools would cost between $350,000 and $500,000. That means UW
would have to guarantee those schools that much when they play in
Laramie, and UW would get the same when it played on the road.
Right now, UW can't make those kinds of guarantees because it
doesn't generate that kind of money off of a football game. UW's
price range right now is around $250,000.
Burman said he hopes the Legislature will discuss this plan and
possibly decide whether to provide funding in the future.
"Ideally, I would like to start this for this coming fiscal
year, starting July 1," he said.
Burman is confident UW can generate its share of the $800,000
without raising ticket prices or implementing surcharges on ticket
purchases.
But Burman said the plan would stall if the school didn't get
help from the Legislature.
"We have to finish this campaign," he said.