The Sugar Bowl was a free ride for some Ohio State administrators, faculty, staff, students and their guests.
Ohio State sent 124 people to the Sugar Bowl on its dime, adding up to roughly $372,000.
OSU’s official party to the Sugar Bowl included at least 69 people and their guests from the Board of Trustees, the Athletic Council, the president’s cabinet, Council of Deans, Senior Management Council and student, staff and faculty leadership. That official party was determined by the Big Ten Conference, according to a document provided by OSU to fill a public records request.
Preliminary estimates of expenses for that party totaled roughly $207,000 — the cost of the trip was about $3,000 per person based on single occupancy. All of those party members were listed with at least one other person (a spouse or a guest), so as OSU noted, that total cost figure is likely inflated.
Some people who made the cut:
- President Michael Drake and wife Brenda Drake
- Provost Joseph Steinmetz
- Seventeen Athletic Council members with guests
- Nine trustees with guests
The Buckeyes played Alabama for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. OSU won, 42-35, to earn a spot in the National Championship game. That game is scheduled for Monday at 8:30 p.m. against the Oregon Ducks.
Travel information for the National Championship won’t be available until after the trip, OSU spokesman Gary Lewis said.
OSU’s athletic department footed the bill for the official party’s travel to the Sugar Bowl, reimbursing expenses “through bowl proceeds,” according to the document.
Other members of the OSU community attended the Sugar Bowl as well — at least 37 working administrators, faculty, staff and students were able to use department discretionary business funds, which aren’t public funds but are private donations intended to be used for “institutional advancement.” They could use those funds if they were traveling to the game on business to cover costs, and they could also use that money to pay for hotel rooms, tickets and events for a spouse or a guest, which 18 of them did. Airfare for that spouse or guest, though, was the individual’s responsibility.
The preliminary estimate of expenses for that category alone — not including guests — under that category comes out to $111,000. With guests — $165,000, a figure that, again, is likely inflated because it assumes single occupancy.
Some people listed under that category:
- Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston
- College of Arts and Sciences executive dean and vice provost David Manderscheid
A third category of attendees listed on the OSU document detailed people who paid their own expenses. No tax dollars or student tuition was used to pay for these people, the document noted.
Some of those who paid their own way:
- Former Interim President Joseph Alutto
- Three representatives from Coca-Cola, a company with which OSU holds a $32 million contract
OSU spokesman Chris Davey provided a statement about the trip with the document, noting that costs were covered only for those people who traveled on OSU business. Official figures for the trip will be released when it’s available in OSU’s NCAA report.
“As we have for past bowl games, we were delighted to organize a trip including some of our friends, families and partners to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl,” Davey said in an email. “This was an opportunity to bring Buckeyes together and advance the interests of the university.”