Is the K-Cup killing Omaha Athletics?

The Omaha World-Herald recently wrote an exposé on the University of Nebraska Omaha’s athletic budget deficit that had surged from $4.3 million in 2010-2011 to $8.6 million last year. We recently wrote a satirical piece on their debt as it was associated with Baxter Arena, the home of Omaha’s hockey team. The University is understandably looking at all avenues to trim expenses to include student fees, a salary freeze, country club memberships, and athletic department travel and expenses to bring down the gaping deficit.

One of the most interesting cost savings identified were K-Cups. Yes, those K-Cups. K-Cups are plastic cups which contain a filter and approximately an ounce of coffee and are placed in a Keurig machine for brewing.

Maverick fans, some of the most passionate in the Summit League and National Collegiate Hockey Conference, have jumped on the story:

We did the math:

500 Coffee drinkers (athletes, staff, visitors)
x 2 Cups per Day
1000 total Cups per Day
x 5 Days per Week
5,000 Cups per Week
x 40 Weeks per Year (School sessions, camps, special events)
200,000 Cups per Year
x $0.30 per K-Cup

$60,000 Coffee Cost per Year

That is almost as much as athletic director Trev Albert’s country club membership!

In the spirit of cost leadership, we are sharing the following YouTube training video which will allow the Mavericks to cut their current K-Cup costs in half by recycling cups:

Of course, this doesn’t entirely address the environmental issues associated with the K-Cup which are seen as a threat to the planet by environmentalists. A website, Kill The Cup, claims the makers of the Keurig machine, Green Mountain Coffee, are facing downward sales and a financial crisis.

Just like the Mavs, folks. Just like the Mavs.

6 thoughts on “Is the K-Cup killing Omaha Athletics?”

  1. Great video. Maybe when their various teams miss the playoffs, as they often do, they could refill K-Cups. This could even turn into a ‘revenue producer’ for UNO athletics!

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      1. I was told 70-80% of DU’s students have some type of aid/scholarships. So probably we’ll below 60k. DU relies on donors, licensing, and ticket revenue and then, general DU revenue to bridge the gap. Public schools like UNO are facing overall budget cuts and, in some cases, declining enrollment. Almost all of DU’s Summit League members are under cost pressure. Western Illinois just hit ‘junk bond’ status.

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  2. Depends what you mean by deficit. College accounting is never apples to apples. In a traditional sense, 95% of college sports programs cost more than they generate in direct revenue. That’s ok, because sports are part of a University just as a music department is part of it. We don’t expect the music department’s concerts or opera ticket sales to float the rest of the music department.

    DU’s athletics total budget is somewhere in the $30 million range every year, which counts the “soft dollar” costs for scholarships that the athletics dept “buys” from its university ‘parent’. Hockey and men’s lacrosse both have budgets of about $2-3 million each year, and hockey is the only sport that generates enough revenue to pay for itself and kick some money back into DU. Lacrosse, basketball and gymnastics generate some revenue, but the other teams of them cost more than they generate in revenue. That said, with only 12.6 scholarships and a 50-man roster, men’s lax does generate substantial tuition revenue as kids pay to play.

    Overall though, when Omaha is said to run a ‘deficit’, they probably mean the fluctuation in revenue differences from year to year, not the overall cost of running the athletic department vs the revenue generated by teams.

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    1. The issue was Omaha predicted a $4 million dollar deficit and ran over $8 million. Part of that is debt financing of Baxter vs Baxter revenue which is down almost $2.0 million. Their public projections were low and now they are paying a reputation price – especially with pressure on college budgets. Add to that, natives are still mad at Trev alberts for dropping football and wrestling and moving the entire athletic department to D-1.

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