The administration is still talking about the benefits and liabilities that could come from altering, or even eliminating, some sports teams, Eastern President David Glassman told the Council on University Planning and Budgeting at its Friday meeting.
“If we keep the status quo, that is we keep all the teams, we don’t reduce any scholarships, we keep them as it is right now, we will end up with a deficit probably this year and probably next year,” Glassman said.
The Board of Trustees has given him until the end of the semester to make a recommendation on intercollegiate athletics. However, Glassman said if extra time is needed to make a decision he will ask for it.
“I will be making recommendations based on what I think is best for university, given all aspects of the decision,” he said. “A lot of people have brought up different aspects. I am looking at those (and) will be informed by them.”
Some options could include keeping sports teams as they currently are, eliminating some, or keeping all of them and altering the number of scholarships provided.
Glassman had been talking to both Athletic Director Tom Michael and Paul McCann, vice president for business affairs, throughout the week. He said it was agreed the three of them “need to meet again very soon” to come up with a decision and solution.
He brought up an idea pointed out at Faculty Senate that cutting sports could create a negative perception of the university, which could be an issue in light of noticeable positive movements on campus following the end of the budget impasse. Though the prospects of cutting sports was something discussed even before the impasse, Glassman said there are still questions about whether the decision to cut sports would disrupt these positive movements.
CUPB chair Kathlene Shank asked whether it could be acceptable to tell the Board of Trustees that the administration was studying the issue, but cannot make a decision at this time.
“I can recommend anything (to the Board of Trustees.) I can recommend I don’t make a recommendation, but that’s not what they’re anticipating,” Glassman said.
Melody Wollan, associate chair of the School of Business, said regarding athletics, sports are not something that can just be cut one year and added back the next.
“(We’re) talking about the long-term impact of cutting a sports and athletes you’ve already committed to, and scholarships you’ve already committed to,” she said.
History professor Sace Elder suggested studying the issue for the next meeting, then discussing it and deciding as a body what the CUPB’s recommendation would be.
“I hear the president asking for our input and advice, but we haven’t really advised as a council or operated as an advisory committee,” she said.
CUPB chair Kathlene Shank liked Elder’s idea, and said athletics would be put on the agenda for the next executive committee meeting.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]