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June 11, 2013

UK hires NCAA enforcement officer for compliance

UK compliance chief Sandy Bell will be getting reinforcements soon.

UK athletics announced the hiring of Rachel Newman Baker as senior associate athletics director for compliance on Tuesday morning. Newman Baker will serve under Bell, who heads the compliance department while working as executive associate athletics director for student services.

Newman Baker had been managing director of enforcement for development and investigations at the NCAA. The Berea native will start at UK on July 8.

"All the pressure on a compliance staff has become a more enormous task than it was in the past and we just need some more help," UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said. "A few more bodies to help us at a high level."

Bell's duties had also shifted in recent years as she accepted her new title. Barnhart said he expects Newman Baker to work primarily with the football team, while Bell will continue to work closely with the men's basketball team.

Newman Baker will represent UK at Southeastern Conference and NCAA compliance meetings, assist Bell with daily compliance administration, maintain UK's agent registration and education program, and serve as the compliance liaison for the marketing office.

"(Newman Baker's) commitment to resolving issues in a manner that was in the best interests of the membership, the institution and the student-athlete has always impressed me," Bell said in a press release. "She brings a great deal of global perspective and knowledge to this position in particular and to the university as a whole. As my responsibilities have increased to encompass the area of student services at UK and the world of compliance has become more complex and demanding, the need to expand our staff was evident."

Barnhart cited social media and the NCAA's expanding rulebook as reasons why another compliance officer was needed. While Bell added more responsibilities, more challenges arose in college athletics to face the compliance department.

Newman Baker played basketball at Berea College in the late 1990s. She earned her master's degree in sports administration from The Ohio State University in 2001 and has worked at the NCAA for the last 12 years, working her way up after beginning as an intern.

"I'm looking forward to applying my skills and knowledge in my new role at the University of Kentucky under the leadership of Mitch Barnhart and Sandy Bell," Newman Baker said in the release. "I have the utmost respect for the standards of excellence by which they and their staff operate the UK athletics program. My family and I are excited to return to our home state and I can't wait to be back on a college campus alongside the student-athletes, coaches and administrators."

$104 million operating budget approved

The University of Kentucky Athletics Committee approved a $104.4 million operating budget for the 2013-14 year on Tuesday. It's the first time in the history of the department its budget has exceeded $100 million.

The budget includes $12.9 million in expenses for men's basketball and $12.6 million in expenses for football. It projects revenues of $21.9 million from men's basketball and $30.58 million from football.

The 2012-13 budget was $91.9 million, which was an increase from $87.8 million in 2011-12. The $104.4 million represented a 13.6 percent increase from last year's budget.

"There is nobody in our league stepping back," Barnhart said. "Costs aren't stepping back. When I came here in 2002, I think our scholarship budget was $4.2 million. Our scholarship budget this year is $12.8."

Football expenses increased from $9.5 million in 2012-13 to $12.6 million this year, due largely to new contracts. Revenue from football was also projected to increase, from $27.6 million last year to $30.6 this year.

That increase comes largely because of increased ticket sales, Barnhart said. Ticket prices haven't gone up, but more tickets are expected to be sold this year.

"What it says is that we want to continue to invest in football," Barnhart said. "People said for a while 'Oh, they're not committed to football, they won't invest in it.' Stuff like that just isn't true. They can blog whatever they want, they can send every email they want to spend, I know the truth. I'm in it every day and I know what we've done in terms of supporting it with projects for football and things we've done.

Other changes from last year's budget included $3.6 million in capital expenditures as payment for a new soccer complex. Total scholarship expenses increased about $1 million, from $11.7 million to $12.8 million.

The budget included a $1.7 million contribution from UK athletics to the university for academic scholarships. More than a quarter of the total UK athletics budget projected to be spent back on campus.


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