Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle can't wait to see the financial benefit after the Big Ten's significant moves this summer with team expansion and the massive media rights deal.
With USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten from the Pac-12 in two years, the Big Ten looks to capitalize with a multi-billion dollar TV agreement starting in 2023-24.
And that provides much-needed budget help for the Gophers in the near future.
"During the pandemic, we finished with a loan of about $21.5 million that we still have to pay back," Coyle said in a Friday news conference. "I think people have forgotten about that. That's why this media deal is a big part of our program as we move forward."
For the first time this summer, Coyle publicly addressed several big topics facing the Gophers, Big Ten and the entire college sports landscape. Here are five key points:
Where can Big Ten media rights deal help?
The historic media deal that could give the Gophers and the other member schools a chance to share $1 billion a year starts next year, and it's reportedly a seven-year, $7 billion contract with Fox, CBS and NBC.
Coyle said the Gophers still owe about $38 million-$40 million on the $166 million Athletes Village facility, which opened in 2018, but they still intend to pay most of that off through fundraising.
The athletic department budget for 2023 is $125.5 million, according to University documents.
"Obviously, we knew this new media deal would be coming and that it was going to have an impact on our program," Coyle said. "But there are things we have to take care of in-house as we look at that media deal and how it will help us compete in the best conference in the America."
Protecting traditional rivalries with Big Ten realignment
Big Ten schools have removed previously announced future schedules to work with the league on planning for the arrival of new programs in 2024-25. Coyle said he's taking a hard stance on protecting Gophers rivalries, especially Wisconsin and Iowa.
"We are strong advocates of keeping those rivalries in place because they mean a lot to our fan bases," Coyle said. "We recognize it means a lot to our student-athletes and it means a lot to our coaches. We're hopeful those long-term rivalries stay in place when we add those two new [schools]."
How are the Gophers doing with NIL opportunities?
Coyle said Gophers compliance director Jeremiah Carter has done well providing information on NIL opportunities through collectives. The U will also provide education-related financial support to athletes starting this fall.
Last year, the Gophers had about 130 athletes with NIL deals and 260 total deals across 22 sports, according Coyle.
"We feel like we've been in a good space with that, but there's no doubt that continues to grow," he added.
Travel concerns with USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten?
The Gophers will benefit from exposure in California with the addition of UCLA and USC, but Coyle was asked about how tough it will be for traveling, especially non-revenue sports.
"We're eager to have those conversations with the office," Coyle said. "Football is such a big part of it. And obviously they only have to go out to the West Coast one time. And the conference with [Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren] are looking at different schedule parameters and what that might look like."
Thoughts on Warren's leadership this summer
Coyle said Warren should be praised beyond the media rights deal, especially with this summer's inspiring retreat for athletes to historic civil rights landmarks in Montgomery and Selma in Alabama.
"You talk about impactful," Coyle said. "I give Kevin a lot of credit because we all have tunnel vision in these jobs. Kevin has kind of shown the athletic directors in this conference a new vision. He's opened up new windows to look out that's educational for our student-athletes."