WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – UNCW trustees heard from athletics administrators Thursday about their plans to balance the department's budget.
Athletics Director Jimmy Bass announced that his department ended the last budget year with a deficit of more than $400,000.
He said they are taking steps to break even this year and eventually generate a surplus.
University officials told trustees they plan to move the budget into the black by putting off upgrades, reducing expenses and generating additional revenue.
They expect part of the revenue increase to come from additional Seahawk Club members, fundraising and student fees.
The Seahawk Club currently has 576 members. Officials hope to add more than 170 members this year and another 100 next year.
UNCW students pay $538.55 in athletics fees, up $100 from last year. The athletics department's budget assumes an additional $100 next year.
The university also charges $107.50 for upkeep and maintenance of athletic facilities and fields, according to its website.
Nearly 70 percent of the athletics budget is funded from student fees.
Chancellor Gary Miller said he is sensitive to fee hikes, but believes athletics is a priority.
"Athletics is something that this community and this university wants," he said. "It's a very important part of our program. It does involve student athletes, so these are students. We're talking about opportunities for students."
Earlier this year, a campus committee recommended that the university eliminate a number of athletics programs to cut costs.
Officials announced Thursday that boosters have pledged more than $50,000 to fund scholarships for the sports that were on the chopping block.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.