Fresno State's Financial Stability

December 22, 2008 2:02:52 PM PST
Fresno State's Athletic Department has already been stained by three high-profile lawsuits which resulted in multi-million dollar judgments and one costly settlement.A commission appointed by University President John Welty aims to improve accountability in funding athletic teams. But students and boosters aren't thrilled by the recommendations.

A rousing bowl game win on the blue turf in Boise boosted bulldog pride.

But the money machine which funds the Valley's team is in need of a tune-up.

University Vice-President Paul Oliaro says the athletic department must step up its fundraising efforts.

Paul Oliaro, University Vice President: "We feel the central valley as well as the campus would be willing to help us in trying to raise our revenues through increased ticket revenues, maybe increased ticket prices."

The report recommends a significant increase in student fees. Right now students pay 8-dollars a semester to fund athletics.

Doug Crowder, Fresno State Junior: "The disbursement of athletic funds hasn't always been equal or fair so as a student I don't I think should necessarily pay for that."

"I know how much sport brings pride to a school and I know personally I like to watch sporting events so I don't mind it."

President John Welty seeks to create a roadmap to financial stability in the athletic department.

But some in the community aren't happy with the call to end booster clubs for individual sports.

The report also recommends increasing the payout from the Bulldog Foundation.

In years past some corporate donations intended for academics were re-routed to athletic teams.

"That problem was resolved about four years ago with a change in the matching gifts process."

With the department facing such financial challenges now might not be the best time to add two new sports, woman's swimming and diving and lacrosse.

"It's always expensive to do that but it's the right thing to do. I think that's important. We are committed to gender equity and committed to giving women athlete's opportunities to participate."

No fundraising goals have been set at this time. The commission's recommendations now go to President Welty and Athletic Director Thomas Boeh. They will determine the next move.


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