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USF VP of Athletics Michael Kelly Wraps Up A Crazy Year for the Bulls

After starting out with a dud in football, things quickly turned around for the department.

For the first time since announcing that the USF Football Facility was starting to get green lit back in February, USF VP of Athletics Michael Kelly spoke with the media on Thursday to give updates on everything around the department as wrap up an exciting spring season.

USF won six team conference championships (baseball, women’s basketball x2, women’s soccer x2, and men’s golf), along with four more individual titles (Albin Bergstrom-golf, Shaniya Benjamin (long jump), JaeNisa Heckstall (400-meter hurdles), and Gabrielle DesRosiers, Heckstall, Benjamin, and Patricija Roshofa (women’s 4x100 relay).

The Bulls also had 13 all-Americans, six various players of the year, and three coaching staffs of the year. This has been the most successful year for USF Athletics since 1998.

MK on NIL Rights for student-athletes which start July 1

“There’s still, unfortunately, a lot more uncertainty than I wish there was...We know that it’s an opportunity for our young people. And about, we started talking about it a couple of years ago, of course, when we saw it coming down the path, but amidst the pandemic last summer, we put together a committee that’s chaired by [Executive director of Compliance] Dawn Castro, and our compliance office that includes student athletes, head coaches, assistant coaches, staff, that we wanted to become educated on everything.”

“I think the one thing that [the student-athletes] have to realize—and all of us do—is that it is still different from just getting a check like from cost of attendance or something like that. You do have to kind of set up your own business. You’ve got to capitalize your own personal brand. There are going to be undetermined limits to what we can do for them. So that’s kind of the awkward part right now for me, I think we’re well-positioned, but now it’s kinda like, all right, uh, how can we help?”

Locker Room renovations, and IPF groundbreaking

While we knew the locker room renovations were already underway, we got some clarity for timelines as USF gears up for the IPF. Kelly said the aggressive timeline for the locker room to be ready by August 1 is still on track, and while there’s no firm date for groundbreaking, all signs still point to a summer start for the indoor facility.

This tweet seems like it fits here.

Budget Cuts, and the fall out of the Pandemic

“From where we stand now, if we were standing in this room last year, where we’re down over 60 employees from where I had last year. As we look to the next budget year, knowing we can get back to full stadiums and how we can build that up, you know, we’re going to have to continue to build that staffing back up and grow as we responsibly can going forward.”

Kelly estimates Athletics lost at least $10 million in revenue this year, which is roughly 20% of their budget for the year.

“It’s not going to go back to where we were tomorrow, but we’ll grow, and grow in the way we think is responsible and helps us position ourselves. And that was just a really hard reality. And again, another reason for the plea, we need USF supporters and Tampa Bay residents to get behind us, get behind these young men and women, and buy season tickets to get out there, support them because that’s our lifeblood, our lifeblood is donations and, tickets.”

CFP heading toward 12-team Expansion

“That is great news for the university of south Florida and for The American in particular.”

“Was it technically true that coach Scott could sit in front of his guys and say, you can make the College Football Playoff? Yes, it was true. Was it an extremely tough putt before? Yes, it was. But now can you look at them in the eye and say ‘guys with the schedule that we’ve got set for the next 10 years, and we put ourselves positioned to win The American, there’s a very good chance that we’re going to the College Football Playoff’ and that’s big time.”