Eastern will not cut any sports, but plans on reducing scholarships

Brooke Schwartz, Administration Reporter

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Eastern President David Glassman announced that, after months of debate, the university will not cut any athletic programs, at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday. The number of scholarships will be reduced. 

University officials anticipate a reduction of one scholarship per current sport over the next two years.

The reduction would not have an impact on current student athletes.

Joseph Dively, the chair of the Board of Trustees, said after comprehensive review, the board decided it is in the best interest of Eastern to keep all of the sports programs.

Eastern has 21 sports programs at the university. The average university competing in the Ohio Valley Conference has 17.

Various groups on campus, such as the Faculty Senate and the Council on University Planning and Budgeting, had been reviewing this issue in their own meetings, but until now no official decision had been made.

Glassman said cutting the amount of scholarships given will help the athletic department not go over budget, while still allowing the university all sports currently on campus.

“The athletic department has to pay for their scholarships. It just doesn’t come from the university—they actually have to pay for it. Their scholarships, because they are student fee dependent, if enrollment goes down, there (are) fewer amounts of dollars that go down to athletics to pay for their scholarships,” Glassman said. “So since our enrollment is down a little bit, what we’re doing is reducing the amount of scholarships because (athletics) can’t afford as many of them.”

Conversations concerning athletics began even before Eastern started its vitalization project, which looked at programs on campus. There was also a workgroup dedicated to looking at intercollegiate athletics in the vitalization project. While the university ultimately decided not to cut any athletic programs, it did cut one academic program during the vitalization project — Africana Studies, though it still is a minor and taught in general education courses.

However, Glassman said academics and athletics are two completely different issues.

“We want to make sure that the athletic department has success, but at the same time we have to make sure … that they can stay within their budget,” Glassman said. “Really, to make the comparison of why cut this and not cut that, (it’s) just totally different areas, totally different questions, and totally different parameters. It’s just not an apples and apples comparison. A lot of people try to make (it) that, but the situation is much more complex than that.”

Glassman said he came to the decision to keep all athletic programs by weighing all the different factors involved and by listening to the discussions around campus.

“If we were to eliminate sports, that could have a negative impact on our tuition. Not all students have scholarships in sports, and we felt that at this time, it’s important to keep our tuition revenue as high as it is,” Glassman said. “In order for (athletics) to manage their budget, they have to reduce their number of scholarships.”

Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]