Due to changes in funding and cost increases for programs and equipment, the Athletics Department has made several changes to its operations, including varsity team’s greater reliance on fundraising, staff cuts, and playoff restructuring.
Director of Athletics and Recreation Scott Devine said that operational changes in athletics departments because of monetary concerns has been going on nationwide.
Programs have been dropped, the number of and frequency of athletic contests has decreased, and staff members have been cut.
Devine also said that the Athletic and Recreations Center (ARC) has been affected mainly because of unplanned equipment repairs.
He said that repairs for one treadmill or elliptical can cost anywhere from $6,000-$8,000.
Last spring, the ARC also had several staff cuts and a reduction in operation hours.
However, the athletics department is no longer running a deficit and will be “better able to handle any unplanned repairs,” said Tom Fisher, ARC Director
Fiscal Associate Cindy Dale said the ARC is doing okay and can maintain the level at which it is running. “However,” she said, “this year has a back to basics attitude.”
Still, “we want the ARC to continue to function at a high level” because it is important for recruiting, community events, and health and wellness of students, faculty, and staff,” she said.
Fiscal changes have also affected the varsity sports teams. Although the teams have always used fundraising to support their programs, the “demand to do that has increased…and the cost of business has gone up,” said Devine.
The need for more fundraising, usually in the form of camps, clinics, and concessions, comes from rising costs for game officials, travel costs, meals, training, practice gear, and uniforms.
The school also used to have an athletics contingency fund to help cover these expenses, but it does not exist any more.
Despite rising costs, Devine said, the Athletics Department has “tried to keep the focus on not impacting the quality of the experience for students.”
He also said that it is important to realize that the “increased requirement to fundraise to supplement the budget will continue to be there and that…the biggest concern will continue to be unplanned repairs.”
Devine concluded by saying, “We will continue to run programs with student experience front and center.”