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San Francisco State responds to budget cuts by eliminatng sports teams

May 13, 2004

Faced with cutting $1.4 million from its budget, San Francisco State University's Athletics Department will eliminate five sports teams and reduce the salaries of a majority of coaches, leaving the University with a total of 11 teams.

The teams to be cut during the 2004-05 academic year are women's tennis, women's volleyball, women's swimming, men's track and field and men's swimming.

The decision to discontinue women's and men's swimming was made four years ago as financial costs to maintain the facility increased and the 50-year-old swimming pool was in need of thousands of dollars in repairs to meet regulation standards. Students and coaches were notified four years ago of the plan to discontinue swimming and the sport has been phased out ever since.

The elimination of the five teams will impact a total of 35 current students in volleyball, tennis and men's track and field. A large portion of the players on the discontinued teams are seniors and will graduate this year.

"Unfortunately, the current state budget situation has put a significant portion of our program in jeopardy. The decision to discontinue or reduce any program is never easy, however, when resources are limited difficult allocation decisions have to be made," said the University's Athletic Director Michael Simpson. "While the process and outcomes were painful to all involved I can assure you that within the parameters available every attempt was made to minimize the effect on the majority of our student-athletes, coaches and staff."

In addition to the cuts, a Task Force on the Future of SFSU Athletics, headed by former Academic Senate Chair and Professor Emeritus of Information Systems Gary Hammerstrom, will convene this summer to examine the status of athletics on the campus. The task force will look at such topics as what type of sports program the University can afford to what best meets the needs of students. Recommendations will be made to President Robert A. Corrigan during the fall semester.

The University will continue to be a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association).

Beginning in the fall, the University will have a total of 11 teams. Four of the teams will be considered in the top tier level: women's soccer, women's softball, wrestling and baseball. Coaches will be full-time and their responsibilities will include recruiting athletes, academic monitoring, fund-raising and generating a portion of their operating budgets. The decision to place these sports in the top tier level was based not only on the team's success but also how economically and efficiently the team operated.

The remaining seven teams will be in the second tier: men's basketball, men's soccer, men's cross country, women's basketball, women's outdoor track and field, women's cross country and women's indoor track. Coaches will be reduced to a 40 percent workload, reducing their salaries by more than half, however, all coaches will maintain benefits. The number of assistant coaches will be reduced to 16 from 20.

Student scholarships for discontinued sports will be honored for at least one year. The University awards about $180,000 in scholarships each year to student athletes.

The Athletics Department must cut slightly more than half of its budget as general fund dollars (state supported money) is removed for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2004. The remaining half of the department's budget comes from student fees. In March students narrowly defeated a referendum that would have increased student fees to $57 a semester from the current $24 a semester. The measure lost by only 233 votes.

-- SFSU press release 5/13/04


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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications