by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Winston-Salem Dash enjoys lucrative debut season

Despite falling short of revenue projections for its inaugural season, the Winston-Salem Dash minor league baseball team appears to be on track to pay back the city its investment of nearly $28 million in BB&T Ballpark. Denise Bell, the city’s chief financial officer, informed the Citizens Baseball Stadium Review Committee on Oct. 15 that the Dash successfully made its lease payment of $493,500 on June 1, and paid the annual ticket surcharge of $350,000 to the city prior to the Oct. 1 deadline.

Committee chair Eric Prior said total revenue in the first six months did not meet the franchise’s original projections, but operating overhead was less than originally expected. Prior noted that the revenue reports took into account the payment of all debt obligations to the city and to the banks. The committee disclosed some of the financial information in open session and heard further details behind closed doors.

Mayor Allen Joines said he asked Dash owner Billy Prim to “consider’ disclosing some additional financial information that would show a good faith effort to address citizen concerns and that would not be damaging to the competitiveness of operation,” according to a press release. The Dash, the Class-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, led all Class-A squads in total attendance during the 2010 season. The team drew 312,313 fans, a Winston-Salem baseball record, to BB&T Ballpark during its first season. The Dash’s next scheduled payment to the city in the amount of $355,000 is due Dec. 1. — KTB

University athletics director fired in wake of student’s death

An autopsy report released by the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner indicates that Jospin “Andre” Milandu, a sophomore at NC A&T University, died as a result of “complications of sickle cell trait.” Milandu collapsed during a track tryout in August. The university had previously acknowledged that there was no physical examination on file for Milandu or 28 other prospective student athletes at the time of the tryout. Milandu also did not have a waiver on file at the time.

On Oct. 15, Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. announced that he had “discontinued” the employment of Athletics Director Wheeler Brown, and said he is committing to “take constructive steps to move our athletics program in a different direction.” Among the qualities Martin said he expects from new leadership in the athletics department is “the ability to manage the necessary cultural changes to ensure enhanced services, transparency and individual accountability.” — JG