Concerned that Cal State Fullerton President Milton Gordon insists on bringing football back at the Division I-AA level in 1994 despite a bleak financial outlook for the rest of the athletic department, Titan coaches Tuesday requested a meeting with him.
The request was made to Bill Shumard, Fullerton athletic director, near the end of a staff meeting, according to several coaches in attendance. Shumard could not be reached for comment.
While each sport is being asked to cut approximately 10% of its budget, $35,000 has been earmarked toward hiring a football coach Jan. 1, 1994--with many more expenses sure to follow.
“It seems, in my opinion, that it’s not feasible to bring football back while taking money from other programs,” said John Elders, men’s and women’s track and cross-country coach. “It seems that that’s not necessary. . . .
“I think the athletic administration is being told what to do. This is definitely a President Gordon decision.”
Gordon was out of town and unavailable for comment Tuesday. Judith Anderson, his executive assistant, said she was unaware of the meeting request and reiterated that Gordon wishes to bring back football.
“There has been no change in the plan to date,” Anderson said.
Brad Holland, men’s basketball coach, confirmed that he has been asked to trim about $45,000 from his budget. Judi Garman, softball coach, said her targeted figure is $24,495. Coaches have been asked to target areas in their budget for reduction in preparation for individual meetings with their supervisors.
“It’s a terrible situation,” said Al Mistri, soccer coach. “I haven’t been this disappointed in a long time.
“I have been present when things were disappointing. Now, it seems there is hopelessness.”
Said Garman: “I was stunned (to learn that Fullerton officials still intend to bring back football). There just isn’t enough money to do what we’re trying to do now. And gender equity becomes interesting. . . .
“I was excited last year because we started making some progress in funding women’s programs. Now, this puts us back to where we were before, which was way inadequate. It was frustrating for many years--now it’s just exasperating.
Garman reminded that Cal State University student fees are scheduled to increase by $500 per scholarship for the next school year.
“We’ve got 18 kids on scholarship, so that’s really $9,000 more we have to come up with in cuts,” she said.
The athletic department is looking at a reduction of $196,306 in state money in next year’s budget, according to sources, on top of a reduction of $515,833 this year.
And with football on the horizon but not yet a done deal, more coaches are questioning how Gordon can justify keeping his promise to bring it back.
“The football issue is on everybody’s minds,” Elders said. “As for the coaches, with our current resources, I would say there would be a 100% vote not to bring it back.”