More discussion, no action on athletics taken at CUPB

Cassie Buchman, Editor-in-Chief

Members of the Council on University Planning and Budgeting reported their constituencies’ thoughts on the potential elimination of some sports at Friday’s CUPB meeting.

The CUPB did not take any action or votes on what to do about athletics during the meeting.

Many constituencies expressed concerns when cutting sports when it came to the public perception of the university, especially with enrollment numbers going up and with the end of the budget impasse.

Some members reported that their constituencies said that if cutting football and moving from a Division 1 school was not an option, they did not have many suggestions beyond that.

Eastern President David Glassman said there are about 400-425 student athletes at the university, a number that has been stable for many years and has not changed since enrollment started decreasing.

“I don’t expect the number of student athletes to change unless there is a reduction in number of teams,” he said.

CUPB member Peggy Brown, representing Staff Senate, said her constituency was “torn” like everybody else on the issue.

She said her constituency had several questions regarding the savings eliminating a sport could bring, as the administration would not be getting rid of sports where the bulk of scholarships are going to.

Because of this, Brown said, the university would be getting rid of smaller sports with one or two scholarships and lose students paying tuition.

“I know a lot of it stems from trying to cover the deficit that athletics has, but covering their $100,000 deficit, are we going to lose too many dollars to the university to do that?” she asked.

Most people Brown talked to were of the consensus that the university was better off covering the $100,000 and getting $2 million it would get from keeping athletics, rather than the other way around.

Student Body President Luke Young said from a student’s perspective, many wanted what is best for the university as a whole.

“Keeping sports would definitely be a greater benefit in the eyes of students,” he said. “I talked to a lot of people, friends that are athletes (and it would) really be a blow to them if their sport got cut.”

Working in the Admissions Office, Young said athletics are a big selling point, and he has talked to students who are not coming for scholarships, but who want to come to Eastern to play their sport.

Paul McCann, interim vice president for business affairs, said over half of all student athlete pay full tuition.

CUPB member Steve Brantley, representing Library Services, said since moving away from being a Division 1 school is not an option, his constituency decided there was not a lot to suggest.

One person Brantley talked to did say that given the “extreme situation” the university is in, all available resources should be given to academics.

Another suggestion Brantley was given was that the elimination of teams should be based on their GPA and disciplinary actions against the teams.

Shank said when talking to chairs, it was brought up that if a sport was cut, the money would not go back into academics but to the remaining sports.

“The feeling is exactly the same as many of you have said on the part of the chairs, is that we really believe that it is not the time to have publicity that we are cutting things,” she said.

Glassman said he has notes from every individual and area represented at the meeting.

“This is one important piece of many pieces in the informed decision that has to be made,” Glassman said. “We still need to control costs…clearly we want to maximize revenue for our enterprise…I’m still working on where that balance is.”

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