Mar 302008
 
Authors: Sean Reed

Athletics does not deserve our money.

On Friday, the Collegian reported that CSU Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk is seeking $670,000 in student fee money for his department for fiscal year 2009 — an amount that comes down to roughly $15 per student.

This announcement came after Athletics stayed suspiciously silent about their plans for funding nearly two months ago when department requests for student fee money were due. Such deadlines, apparently, do not apply to Kowalczyk and Co.

This announcement came in the wake of three very high profile firings –the 2006 dismissal of basketball coach Dale Layer, last semester’s firing of former head football coach and all-around CSU hero Sonny Lubick.

Then, last week, things got a bit more complicated when it was announced that women’s basketball coach Jen Warden would be involuntarily leaving CSU as well. Kowalczyk, however, gave his assurances that the events surrounding Warden’s dismissal would not affect his request.

I highly doubt that.

Money, as Kowalczyk is learning the hard way, does not grow on trees. Over the next two years, CSU will still be paying Warden to the tune of roughly $230,000. On top of that, we get to pay new coach Kristen Holt an additional $115,000 for her work next year.

Combine that with the fact that we will also be paying both the former and new coaches of football and men’s basketball their full salaries as well and you will get a glimpse of the financial mismanagement that is fueling this fee increase.

Now, the dissatisfaction that fueled this wave of firings is completely understandable. I know many people that celebrated Layer’s dismissal. Football was coming off of two seasons of extremely poor performance. And as for women’s basketball, Warden only won five conference games in her three-year tenure at CSU.

When teams don’t perform, the coaches need to go. However letting three coaches go, knowing full well that they have extended contracts to pay off and that you don’t have the resources to pay them, just reeks of bad management.

Any other department at CSU, if faced with similar challenges, would be expected to make cuts and make due with the budget they have. Athletics, on the other hand, is allowed to ask for late student handouts while their budget continues to grow.

Take the last six years, for instance. The Athletics Department has seen their budget increase 66 percent since 2002, according to the CSU Budget Report.

But for all that money flowing in, not much in the way of performance has been coming out.

If Athletics wants more money, I am perfectly fine with that, but they need to prove that money is being well spent and they need to ask for it in the right way.

A two-month late request for an increase that, based on the performance of the major sports teams, is completely unjustified and is unacceptable.

Athletics, of course, will get the increase because they need it. Football and basketball are too popular to allow them to starve on inadequate funds.

I just hope next year, Athletics will have something to show for our money.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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