Balancing act

As with any business, The Ohio State University Athletics department has bills to pay and a bottom line, says Athletic Director Andy Geiger.

“I think any enterprise needs to run like a business,” says Geiger. “You’re never exempt from the issues of the day — paying bills.”

Geiger says the athletic department generates revenue and has to balance its budget. The primary difference between the athletics department and a business is that the department gets to spend most of the money it earns.

“We’re doing well, though we tend in our business to spend most of the revenue on programs,” says Geiger.

That’s because, as a public institution, OSU is tightly regulated and required to offer special programs for its constituents, he says.

“Title IX programs figure aggressively in our spending. We add activities that do not generate a profit but help us meet the law,” says Geiger. “In business and industry, that’s called a loss leader.”

So how does Geiger balance generating revenue with meeting students’ needs?

“That’s the art of management,” he says. “Running a successful college athletic program and getting it to mesh academically is the fun for me as a manager.”

Geiger finds that balance by remembering the athletes are students and the primary responsibility of the university is to prepare them for the rest of their lives.

“We’re not independent of university accounting and principles of good management,” says Geiger. “We work together to create terrific experiences for our young people.”

So does Geiger predict a winning season for the Buckeyes?

“The true and honest answer is, I don’t know. That’s why we schedule the games — to find out. I hope we do well.” How to reach: The Ohio State University Athletics Department, (614) 292-2477