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Date Posted: 03/ 8/03 11:50am
Author: zzzza
Author Host/IP: 68.6.61.35
Subject: MD budget article

Something that sticks out here--even though it was fairly obvious before--is that Poly is starting to get into low-level football bodybag games. Not good, IMHO.

Budget crisis hits home for Poly

The Cal Poly Athletic Department expects to feel the weight of the state budget crisis.

By Sean Martin
mustang daily staff writer

The athletic department is used to dealing with wins and losses. Now it faces a battle that can’t be won: The state budget.

State budget cuts will force the department to tighten its belt, but there are no plans to cut any of the school’s current NCAA teams.

No one knows for sure how much of a cut Cal Poly athletics will have to take, but it is estimated the state will reduce their funding from 8 to 10 percent, athletic director John McCutcheon said.

When combined with a lower-than-expected enrollment — which means less money from student fees for athletics — and an increase in tuition, which increases the amount paid in scholarships, McCutcheon said the department expects to be without $140,000 to $160,000.

The department has a hierarchy of areas to cut in times like this, McCutcheon said.

First are administrative areas, or office costs. Things such as administrative travel or salaries would be first to be affected. Next are support areas, like interns and temporary workers. McCutcheon called these workers necessary to the department, but they are a sacrifice that would have to be made in tough times. The final area to be affected is sport-operating budgets because “they are lean already,” he said.

“We are going to do everything we can to make any cuts transparent to the student-athlete,” McCutcheon said. “We don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize their experience.”

The department also has ways to raise money to offset losses from budget cuts. They can search out new venues for fund-raising and donations, something they do constantly anyways, McCutcheon said, or delay hiring when there are openings in the department.

He said finding new donations will be hard, however, because people are worried about their own financial security right now and not as willing to give.

The football team also added a game against the University of Texas-El Paso to get more money for the athletic department. That game should bring in $100,000.

The cuts also mean the athletic department cannot go forward with several goals. It wanted to start providing funding to men’s and women’s golf. Both came to fruition in 2000 because they are funded from outside sources, McCutcheon said.

He also said several programs will not be able to increase their amount of scholarships to the maximum number allowed under NCAA rules, as was hoped. These programs are track, men’s soccer and swimming.

The department also started to make improvements to its sports medicine offerings, but that progress may have to be ceased, McCutcheon said.

There’s no risk at this point of any Cal Poly teams being eliminated, he said.

“It would have to get to the point where we’re compromising the experience of our athletes or out competitive levels relative to similar schools that we would look at our sport offerings,” he said.

Teams should be fine if they can keep scholarships. If operating budgets are cut, there are ways around it, either by cutting one or two trips or staying at a parent’s home instead of a motel, women’s tennis coach Hugh Bream said.

Teams will just have to roll with the punches in a time like this, men’s soccer coach Wolfgang Gartner said.

“You have to deal with reality,” he said. “Everyone has to do the best with what cuts there are. We have to deal with the cards that are dealt. That is part of what athletics teaches you, how to overcome. This is something everyone is going to have to deal with. (Budget cuts) are affecting every aspect of life in the state right now.”

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