by Max Brantley
Coach Frank Broyles retired from the University of Arkansas in late 2007 and was no longer a public employee. At that time, he went to work for The Razorback Foundation, Inc., an independent, non-profit corporation. For tax year 2014, the Razorback Foundation’s tax filing reflected his compensation for speaking engagements, including the completion of a long-term agreement to remain employed with the Foundation for such purposes.I also asked how many suites were being marketed and how many have been sold.
In response to your inquiry regarding suites, the Razorback Foundation commits to provide annual support to the Athletic Department in exchange for the right to assign seating locations (including suites), and the Razorback Ticket Office sells all tickets to those locations and receives all ticket revenues (not the Foundation). As part of the Foundation’s goal of raising $40M in private gift support for the renovation and expansion of the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the Foundation has been seeking private donations for the right to use newly constructed suites known as Founders’ Suites. These gifts have ranged between $3M and $3.5M to be paid over five (5) years for the right to purchase tickets for these suites. All of those donations will be used to help pay for the cost of the stadium project. We are grateful for the support of our donors.
I believe this responds to your inquiries.
The Razorback Foundation has received five (5) Founders’ Suite gift commitments to date. The total number of Founders’ Suites has yet to be determined and will be based, in part, on the level of interest in such suites, the architectural design, and the desires of the Athletic Department. Representatives of the Razorback Foundation continue to meet with supporters of the athletic program to explore their potential interest in the suites. As I am sure you will understand, we are grateful for the generous support of the donors who have committed to the Founders’ Suites. Their donations will significantly benefit the whole project, including the cost of constructing a new concourse around the stadium, adding new elevator towers to aid pedestrian traffic flow throughout the stadium, adding new security cameras, and adding a new scoreboard in the south end zone. As I address the stadium, please allow me to touch on some misinformation regarding the stadium project. The plans for the stadium project have never called for the construction of an underground parking garage or a private elevator for Athletic Department staff. While I know this inaccurate assertion did not originate with you, I know you strive to report accurate information, and I wanted to dispel such an unfounded myth.
In response to your other inquiry, you are correct that ticket revenues flow solely to the Athletic Department. The Razorback Foundation commits to donating a minimum of $12.4M to the Athletic Department each year and often provides more than that when needed. In exchange for that commitment, the Athletic Department grants the right to the Razorback Foundation to convey seating locations for most seating areas in the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and other athletic venues (some seat locations do not require any type of donation). The Razorback Foundation, in turn, seeks private donations. The Razorback Foundation designates seating locations for its members based upon membership level and the total number of lifetime priority points accumulated by a donor. The priority points program is publicly available on our web site at razorbackfoundation.com if you are interested in reviewing it in further detail. Moreover, consistent with our tax-exempt purpose, the private gift support received by the Razorback Foundation is used to enable the Athletic Department to fund 19 men’s and women’s sports. I do not believe that we can overstate the fact that the University of Arkansas is one of a only handful of institutions of higher education in the nation that does not charge mandatory student fees or rely upon taxpayer revenues for its operations. I think this fact should be a source of pride for all Arkansans, and it is a tribute to the fans of the Arkansas Razorbacks — they deserve all the credit for their generous support.