COLUMBIA, Mo. - Amidst the ever-changing world of college athletics, the University of Missouri has struck a deal with a global consulting firm to identify areas that Mizzou can "further invest in athletics excellence," according to a news release from the UM System Board of Curators.
Huron is a global professional services firm that consults a wide range of companies in the fields of healthcare, education, life sciences, financial services, energy, manufacturing and more. Huron has performed similar work for college athletics programs at Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and San Diego State.
The $540,000 will be paid by the Board of Curators through investment income and reserve funds and not from Mizzou's athletics budget, a university spokesperson confirmed.
Huron will release the results of its Mizzou assessment and recommendations in the fall of 2023. The firm's study will support the athletics department's Mizzou Momentum strategic plan put together by second-year athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois, which addresses several key elements, including the university's plan for Name, Image and Likeness opportunities for athletes. MU athletics has operated at a budget deficit for the last five years, though MU saw a significant uptick in attendance figures and ticket sales for football this season. Mizzou attendance increased by 17% this season, the biggest jump in the SEC. Per MU's release, Mizzou has also recently seen increases of 37% for student ticket sales, nearly 10% growth in Tiger Scholarship Fund revenue, 26% increase in social media engagement, plus 25% increase in men’s basketball attendance and 20% increase in women’s basketball attendance.
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“The landscape of college athletics has evolved rapidly in the last couple of years due to changes like Name, Image and Likeness, and conference expansion,” Board chairman Darryl Chatman said. “These changes offer MU the opportunity to transform, not simply transition. Together with Huron, we are excited to build a roadmap for growth that capitalizes on the distinct strengths of Mizzou and propels us to the top of collegiate athletics.”
“Successful athletics programs can enhance the student experience and increase the engagement and support of alums, fans and Missouri citizens,” university president Mun Choi said. “With the Board’s leadership and Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois’s bold strategic vision, we’ll make investments for Mizzou to become a national leader in collegiate sports.”
“I regularly ask alumni to share with me their favorite college memory. More often than not, the memories they share with me center around a significant sporting event from their time at MU,” Reed-Francois said. “Love for Mizzou Athletics extends across our state, nation and world. I’m grateful to the Board of Curators and President Choi for their support and commitment to helping us achieve excellence.”