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Budget update -- SFSU Athletics

NOTE: The following e-mail message was sent by President Robert A. Corrigan to SFSU students, faculty and staff on March 19, 2004

Dear SFSU Students, Faculty and Staff:

When our students narrowly defeated the Athletics and Intramurals Fee increase proposal in the recent fee referendum, questions naturally arose about the future of our athletics program. Some have urged me to override the vote, arguing that it was close and only advisory, and that athletics are a valuable part of the collegiate experience. It was also suggested that I restore general fund support -- even in the face of significant and devastating cuts in other areas of the University.

I certainly agree that athletics have much to offer college life, but as I said in my earlier message concerning the referendum, I am respecting the students' choice in this case, as I did with the other referendum items. Our students voted to tax themselves to preserve classes and services they felt they needed. With the strong likelihood of system wide fee increases, I am not about to overrule them and add to their fiscal burden. At the same time, I cannot further reduce general fund support for other campus programs that are already struggling to absorb the cuts included in the Governor's budget for the CSU. Without the fee increase or restoration of general fund dollars, the Athletics program budget for next year will be about half its former size.

In the recent Town Hall meetings on the budget, I said that budget cuts of this severity require us to redefine the University. In the academic arena, everything from the number of colleges to the configuration of academic programs is under review. Now we must take the same approach to the athletics program. I propose that we use this time of change as an opportunity to rethink athletics on this campus and to shape a program that continues to model the ethical best of college sports programs while at the same time meeting with success in an arena of our own choosing.

I am proud that we have run a program that emphasizes the "student" in student-athlete. But I believe it is time to look again at our program, to see how it can provide the best possible fit for this campus and the best possible experience for our students.

Why could we not create a new, alternative model for athletics on this campus? One that emphasizes sports students can enjoy throughout their lives. One that matches our best athletics facilities with appropriate sports activities. One that recognizes, and builds on, existing excellence. And one that is willing to make choices so that we can compete strongly in a carefully-selected package of sports. We can rethink everything.

Many alumni, parents of athletes and other interested members of the campus community have good ideas and a strong interest in the future of SFSU athletics. I believe that we need to engage a great many people in our discussion of our Athletics program. Accordingly, I am going to establish a Task Force on the Future of SFSU Athletics, to include widespread representation. I will ask this group to look with hope, but also with realism, at Athletics. What can we do very well? How much can we afford? What kind of program will serve this campus best? I will ask the Task Force to consult broadly across and beyond the campus and to make its recommendations to me by mid-fall.

Budget cuts are providing the impetus, but in this instance, as in our many other budget-related discussions across the University, I trust that we will approach the task not as destructive, but creative; not disheartening, but exciting. Athletics do have a place in the life of San Francisco State University. In this, as in all our planning, I welcome your thoughts.

-- Robert A. Corrigan, president

Robert A. Corrigan President


San Francisco State University

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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications