Athletics trying to avoid budget cuts
By Kate Hampson

Published: Monday, May 4, 2009

With budget cuts coming for numerous departments around campus in the fall semester, some students may be directly affected. The athletic department is trying to make sure that doesn't happen to their student-athletes. 

Meetings have already taken place and budget cuts have already been given to many departments on campus. In the recessing economy, the affected departments are finding ways to do things the same way, while trying to find little ways to cut back. This may impact the students who use that specific department as a resource. However, the athletic department is looking at ways to cut back on the administrative side and not the competition side.

"We are trying to only let the budget cuts affect the administrative side of our department," said Loren Ferre, athletics director. "Everything we do here is for the student-athlete and we don't want to cut anything that is going to directly impact their experience here."

For now, Ferre said budgets for individual teams haven't been cut because the budgets that are in place are already being stretched to the limits. The budget is used to cover traveling, which includes meals, lodging and gas, equipment and recruiting, among other things. All of the things each team uses their budget for is necessary and allows each team to compete at the highest level. 

"We can't stop traveling because that would give our teams fewer competitions which would impact the student-athletes experience," said Ferre. "And this would also put our teams in jeopardy of not making the playoffs."

Instead, the budget cuts are going to directly affect the administrative side of the athletic department. There have already been positions within the department that have been frozen. They are also trying to find little things that will help with the budget cuts and trying to do things with better precision, making sure every little bit of money being spent, is being spent for a good reason. 

"We need to try and find different ways to cover the costs of the different teams and administrative responsibilities. We are looking at ways to become more efficient," said Ferre´. 

Although fundraising has always been a great way to raise money, it has become harder in this economy. Kerry Dickerson, assistant athletic director, is in charge of fundraising and is working even harder to raise money. The fundraising efforts have always been a good source of money for the athletic department but they are pushing for it to make an even bigger impact. 

Individual teams are also starting to depend more on fundraising. The women's soccer team has held different events throughout the semester to raise money to travel during their spring season. They put on a campus-wide dodgeball tournament, held a Wii tournament at Henry T's Bar and Grill and they are making a cookbook to sell at games. With just those two fundraisers the team has raised $1,000. Although it may seem like the women's soccer team is struggling to keep up with its current budget, they have a positive outlook on the situation.  

"I know there are teams that have smaller budgets than ours," said Tim Collins, head socce coach. "So we are lucky to have what we have. We use fundraising to go the places we want to go and then for the spring season as well."

Sponsorships are the other way the athletic department brings in money. In the current economic climate, some sponsors are lowering the amount of their sponsorships, and some are completely dropping out. Other sponsors, though, have decided to sponsor at higher levels. 

"The amount of sponsors we have is probably going to stay the same because we are finding new, different companies who want to sponsor," said Summer Harris, marketing director. "And there are others who are increasing their sponsorship."