Workgroup No. 4 discusses upcoming recommendations

Cassie Buchman, News Editor


Workgroup No.4, focusing on intercollegiate athletics, talked about the upcoming recommendations that need to be submitted and resource concerns they heard at their meeting Thursday.

The deadline for the group’s preliminary recommendations are due Tuesday.

The group is working on writing recommendations and prioritizing what they think needs to be done.

Though the group has not compared their drafts yet, they said one common thread for the groups was a need for resources.

Kevin Linker, director of intramural sports, said when he and chemistry professor Dan Sheeran met with Cindy Miller, director of athletic and academic services, they learned that schools such as Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville have less student-athletes, but have more staff members in their athletic academic centers.

“They don’t even have football,” Linker said.

Linker said Miller has been by herself in the academic center, though she was able to hire a graduate student as an assistant director, which has been a big help.

“It’s clear that office could use some additional resources,” Sheeran said.

However, he said he was not sure if that fell under the guise of identifying efficiencies, which the group was charged with.

When Workgroup chair Tami Babbs, assistant comptroller, spoke to head athletic trainer Jim Nave, he said they currently have a staff of five people with three graduate assistants, when in the past he has had a staff of six.

“Right now, three of his five are covering multiple sports,” Babbs said. “One more staff member might help a little bit.”

At past meetings, it was pointed out that there is no secretary or business manager in the athletic office either.

Sheeran said there are things offices could do differently, as many have a grueling schedule of meetings.

“We all agreed two or three meetings ago that so many cuts are not sustainable in the long term,” Babbs said.

However, Babbs said she does not  know if it is necessarily the group’s charge to say where resources could or should come from.

She said the group always has to keep the university’s resources and budget in mind when prioritizing the things they think need to be done.

“We think it’s worthwhile,” she said. “We don’t have access to resources, (but) we can say we think something’s important, and it should be looked at (to see) if it needs more resources,” Babbs said.

Linker said something he has seen when talking to people about their athletic needs is that they want support for recruitment in athletics.

“We gotta get them to Eastern,” he said.

For the students who are already at Eastern, the group talked about allocating resources to student athlete’s transportation.

Kelsie Abolt, a family and consumer sciences major, said a lot of students brought that up when she was meeting with them.

Babbs said when giving their recommendations, administrators were probably going to get back to the group with their suggestions.

“If facilities is a big topic campus-wide, the Field House may show up on our (recommendations) it may show up on facilities,” she said.

Linker said when they turn the preliminary recommendations in, the president could say they should look at an area further.

“We’re still trying to gather information,” Sheeran said.

Babbs said Rob Miller, general counsel for Eastern, will decide if what they did is enough.

Steve Rich, assistant vice president for advancement, said though there is always more research that could be done, there is a time constraint.

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