Board of Trustees approves athletic budget increase

Debby Hernandez, Administration Editor

Board of Trustees approved an increase in spending for athletic apparel and a new health studies master’s degree program Friday.

Board member Robert Webb presented a change in the amount of money allocated to Eastern’s annual contract with adidas America Inc. from $250,000 to $375,000.

The board approved an expenditure of $250,000 towards Eastern’s five-year contract with Adidas America last spring.

However, extra expenditures and demands have resulted in recalculating the original amount.

Webb said the change is a result of distributing part of the $250,000 to other areas.

“This is not related to increased costs in the athletic department; it is primarily the purchases from outside the department that necessitates the higher figure,” he said.

Paul McCann, interim vice president for business affairs and treasurer, said a correction is needed from the original amount.

“Since that point, we have realized that we underestimated that amount to some extent; particularly due to additional expenditures, not that it is not budgeted, but items that we just missed in that original calculation,” McCann said.

He said increased demand for Adidas products has also contributed to this.

“The quality of the merchandise that we been receiving has been good, and so there has been additional interest from the campus community to buy off of this contract,” McCann said.

He said while the original calculation was underestimated, the additional $125,000 added to the original cost will be used as a backup.

“Our anticipation is that we will not reach the $375,000, but this is more protecting us to make sure that we have at least enough room in the purchase,” McCann said.

The board also reviewed a new health promotion and leadership master’s program.

Board member Rene Hutchinson said Robert Bates, chair of the department of health studies, proposed the new degree program.

Hutchinson said employment opportunities seem favorable for students who enter the program.

“By the year 2020, 20 percent of the employment in the U.S. will be health related, according to the U.S. Department of Labor,” he said.

Hutchinson said the development of the program is also as a response to expressed interest from alumni.

“This is proposed to be a hybrid program with both online and face-to-face offers,” Hutchinson said.

Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the program will benefit the university as a new initiative for enrollment and as job opportunities for students.

“It will open new markets for Eastern,” Lord said.

The new degree will need to be approved by Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The board also addressed concerns in other programs.

Hutchinson said student interest in the teaching education program has significantly decreased.

“Over the past five years, the number of students enrolled in the teacher education program has dropped by 50 percent across the state of Illinois,” he said.

However, Hutchinson said Eastern has been a leader in addressing the issue.

“EIU was the first institution in the state that enabled students to substitute an ACT composite of 22 or higher for the TAB,” he said. “These initiatives are making significant impact for our students.”

He said the shortage of certified teachers is not projected to improve.

“The shortage will continue to grow,” Hutchison said. “Teacher education is expected to rebound very shortly.”

Eastern is currently working with middle schools and high schools so students are aware of the requirements for teacher certification, he said.

The board also approved contributing $1,713,300 to the group health insurance that will be paid in four installments for fall 2015.

In 2001, Governor George Ryan asked institutions to contribute to the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to cover a shortage in the state group insurance program.

Eastern is one of the nine institutions that are contributing together a total of $45 million to the department.

“This is not something that normally will be a board approval item, but I do think it’s important to understand that we are having this mandate passed down to us from the state,” McCann said.

Debby Hernandez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]