UNLV’s athletic department for years had the safety net of knowing if it exceeded its budget, the university could cover the deficit at the end of the fiscal year. Soon, that no longer will be the case. The university and athletic department are working on a plan that calls for university support to come at the beginning of the fiscal year, a change that probably will take place next year. “We don’t have all the answers figured out yet, but we want to make that transparent and proactive and then hold us accountable,” said athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois, who was hired in April. UNLV President Len Jessup said changing the funding system was top of mind while searching for an athletic director, and the subject was discussed during the interview process with Reed-Francois. Budgets for other parts of campus are funded on the front end, he said. ”When we brought (Reed-Francois) in for an interview up in Salt Lake City, as soon as she arrived, we began talking about how we would handle budgets,” Jessup said. “And this framing of the budget was immediately part of our conversations. Rather than wait until the last of the year, I wanted to work with her beforehand on what that budget was going to look like. “I think for any manager in any kind of organization, that’s healthy. It causes the manager to act responsibly and be diligent about what they do.” Jessup also has given Reed-Francois latitude to restructure the business office, and on Nov. 21 she hired Marcus Bowman as chief financial officer and Michelle Edwards as associate athletic director for business services. Rather than go through the university’s vice president of finance and business on financial matters, the athletic department will have more control over its purse strings. How much university support will be provided is undetermined, but Reed-Francois said it would be similar to the $5.1 million the institution contributed last fiscal year, which ended June 30. She pointed out that amount was below the Mountain West average of $8.6 million and the typical Group of Five school of $9.1 million, numbers UNLV also provided in a report to the Nevada Board of Regents. “We’re certainly not asking for