Athletic workgroup talks efficiencies

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

Workgroup No. 4, focusing on intercollegiate athletics, discussed research to be done and how to create efficiencies at their meeting Wednesday.

Eastern President David Glassman charged the workgroup with identifying these efficiencies, assessing the viability and sustainability of athletic programs, as well as finding enhancements and changes that could be made for marketability and to increase enrollment.

Like other workgroups, No. 4 is under a tight timeline, as they have to give their first draft report to Glassman by Nov.1.

Workgroup Chair Tami Babbs said the draft sent to the president will be shared with Athletic Director Tom Michael and others on the athletics staff, and they will bring back what will and will not work.

The group has until Dec. 15 to give its final recommendations.

Babbs brought an article from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, which Eastern is a member of, on what makes up a strong athletics program.

“I would like for us to look at them and see do we have these, are we strong in this area or are we weak in this area and need to look at it,” Babbs said.

These areas include the recruitment of athletes and non-athletes, a university’s spirit, loyalty, and their leadership development through being a student-athlete.

Much of the work being done will be completed outside of the meetings, as workgroup members will be doing their own research and interviewing people.

“We only have two or three weeks, we’re going to split up in looking at the different areas to gather the information,” Babbs said.

Workgroup No. 4 members will come up with questions to interview students, coaches, community members and others that they will bring to Friday’s meeting. Michael will also be asked about his perspective. Steve Rich, the assistant vice president for advancement, said they are not asking Michael to make decisions; they just want to get his feedback.

Data on expenses and from profit-loss sheets will also be used.

“We want to get as broad of a perspective as we could,” Babbs said.

One of the questions Babbs brought up was whether the group thinks athletics should be self-supported or if they are important enough that the university should support them.

Rich said it is his understanding that over past years, the budget was not balanced, and last year surpluses were not in the red.

Babbs said to look from three or four years ago to know when the budget was brought back in line, to see what efficiencies were used and if there are more that could be done.

The group should be careful with comparing the fiscal years together, she said, and she would feel more comfortable looking at cuts, changes and efficiencies that could be made.

“Do we have too many sports, or do we have enough sports? Do we have the right sports? We have to go over those things,” Babbs said.

Babbs said if any of those things change, they will need to see if athletics will keep the same budget.

If they do have the same budget and reduce sports, they will have more money, as there will be fewer teams, Babbs said. But if they decide on more sports, they will have to look at the budget there, too.

The next meeting for the group is set for 9 a.m. Friday in the Shelbyville Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

 

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]