As cost of attendance starts to impact all of Division 1 athletics, DU will have no option but to participate in Cost of Attendance (CoA). The answer is: optimize sports revenue.
- DU has two options regarding conference affiliation. First, follow the Colorado College model and provide a more focused approach with a limited number of D-1 Programs. Keep a handful of teams in D-1 and eliminate or "drop down" with other sports. Second, join a larger conference to drive attendance, media, and donor revenue. The West Coast Conference is likely the best non-football fit with Pepperdine, Gonzaga, and St. Mary's and access to the large west coast market. Or, develop a non-football affiliate partnership such as the Mountain West Conference which offers logical geographic rivalries (Colorado State, Wyoming, Air Force, etc.). This would likely require the addition of a second non-football university, similar to DU, by the WCC to provide balanced schedules. Also, initially, DU may have to add new programs, at a cost, to align with the new conference sports slate.
- Increase the seating capacity for Peter Barton Stadium by fifteen hundred seats and increase ticket prices for all lax seats. The reality is that fans are going to have to pay for program costs and CoA. Assuming $20 per seat for the new seating, concessions and ticket revenue could lead to an additional $200,000+ per season from men's lacrosse. This will take the support of lacrosse donors and friends of DU but will be critical to cover CoA and overall program costs. Strike while the iron is hot.
- Men's basketball is going to have to become a greater driver of revenue. The reality is that the Summit League does not create a buzz in Denver. There are few natural rivalries for Denver with the closest being University Nebraska Omaha. DU needs to seek a conference that will draw fans, even during DU's lengthy winter school breaks. By joining a conference with nationally visible programs and/or regional powers, DU has greater potential to increased ticket and media revenue.
- DU must grow the University endowment to take pressure off CoA. Reported by U.S. News, at $467 million, DU over time needs to double, triple, or quadruple this amount to take pressure off overall University operations and, specifically, the athletic department. One of Chancellor Chopp's primary goals when coming to DU was to tap new revenue sources to get the best students, regardless of their financial condition.
- Several of the women's sports have potential upside. Denver is a hot-bed for women's lacrosse, soccer and volleyball. Gymnastics is the perfect model of a program that enjoys huge local support. With targeted recruiting and promotion, could these sports be the next "men's lacrosse" with stands and arenas full. Who could have envisioned the current popularity of men's lacrosse at DU?