CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTEBOOK : Still in Critical Condition

The shuffling at Cal State Fullerton has been going on for some time, as the athletic department works to correct inequities between men's and women's sports at the school.

The women's basketball program and the women's softball program have moved from cramped offices into larger ones.

Maryalyce Jeremiah, the women's basketball coach, now drives a courtesy car, as does men's basketball coach John Sneed.

But the critical issue at Fullerton, as usual, is money. The success of Fullerton's well-intentioned efforts to improve its support for women's programs will be difficult to judge until late this week, when the university's Athletics Council is expected to approve a budget recommendation to be submitted to University President Jewel Plummer Cobb for her approval.

The challenge is to find a way to add $145,000 to the budgets of women's sports in an athletic program that already reaches a financial crisis point almost every year.

This year, the department has a deficit of $236,000, and has responded with actions as serious as a staff salary cuts.

Cobb has pledged her support to the additional funding for the women's programs. In order to reach a workable budget for next year, it may require cutting as many as three sports from Fullerton's 17-sport program, school officials have said. Football is not being considered.

And although a department report says it is not "a wise solution" to take money from already minimal men's budgets to resolve the situation, that seems very likely to happen.

That, in turn, could create another sort of inequity. Fullerton might find that its women's sports are funded competitively with the schools they compete against, while the men's programs compete against programs that operate on much larger budgets.

The figure of $145,000 is from a department study that was undertaken at the urging of a group of women's coaches. That study showed that Fullerton was not in compliance with Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education and requires spending for women's programs to be proportional to the number of women participants.

For Fullerton to be in compliance, thereby avoiding the potential for a lawsuit, the women's budget must be 31% of the total, the approximate percentage of women to men athletes at the school, according to the study.

The additional money might mean marked changes in the women's programs.

In the past, some men's teams flew to Northern California, but comparable women's teams traveled by bus or van. Recruiting budgets for men's sports have been eight times greater than women's recruiting budgets. In basketball, the men's recruiting budget has been 20 times the women's.

At the same time, coaching salaries in women's sports at Fullerton are among the highest in the nation. The full-time women's coaches--Jeremiah, softball coach Judi Garman and gymnastics' Lynn Rogers--each make about $65,000, the same as Sneed, the men's basketball coach. Gene Murphy, the football coach, is paid $65,000 plus an unspecified supplement.

The women's coaches who have sought additional funding have sought only what is already guaranteed by law. How the athletic department responds to the budget crisis created by that request won't be known until a final budget is submitted.

Leanne Grotke, associate athletic director, said the department is proud of its efforts to achieve equity, saying Fullerton had not been "seriously discriminatory" in any practices and is implementing standards more rigid than those required by law.

Football Coach Gene Murphy has been given the go-ahead to hire two assistants, bringing his staff back to the NCAA standard of nine by the beginning of spring practice, Athletic Director Ed Carroll said.

Fullerton lost two assistants in recent weeks. Ed Donatell resigned to take an assistant's job with the New York Jets last week, and Preston Dennard said he lost his position because of budget problems.

Carroll would not comment on both coaches being replaced in spite of the budget problems, but speculation is that the two positions will be filled at a lower salary level.

Heavyweight wrestler David Jones is getting better. Coach Dan Lewis is certain of it.

"Fortunately or unfortunately, I can tell," Lewis said. "I'm his workout partner."

Jones, ranked ninth in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, is expected to qualify for the NCAA championships March 22-24 at College Park, Md.

"The way he's been wrestling lately, he could win the nationals," Lewis said.

Jones is back in form again after missing several weeks of the season with a kidney problem. He was held out of wrestling as a precautionary measure on a doctor's advice, but was cleared to participate after consulting a specialist.

"Since then, he's been training real hard," Lewis said.

The baseball team warmed up for the Big West Conference season with a 16-2 exhibition victory Monday over Waseda University, the Japanese collegiate champion.

Fullerton, concerned about its offense during the preseason, had 23 hits in the game, including two home runs by Phil Nevin, who had hit two against U.S. International Saturday.

The Titans have had at least 10 hits in their past nine games going into a weekend series against the University of the Pacific.

Titan Notes

The wrestling team was forced to forfeit its final match of the regular season to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after the NCAA ruled the Titans had broken a rule by practicing with another team. Fullerton held practices with Minnesota for two days in January following a meet with Minnesota. Although Coach Dan Lewis said NCAA rules do not explicitly prohibit joint practices, Lewis said the sessions were ruled to be scrimmages, thus violating a rule that limits the number of scrimmages and matches. . . .

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