Northridge Authorities Face Music


In their first public confrontation since Cal State Northridge disbanded four popular men’s athletic programs, angry sports fans blasted university officials Friday at a meeting of the school’s budget planning and management committee.

“We suffered another earthquake when our sports were taken away from [my children],” said a woman who identified herself as the mother of four and the wife of a former Northridge baseball player.

Northridge announced June 11 it was dropping baseball, volleyball, soccer and swimming in a move administrators said was prompted by state-mandated gender-equity requirements and an $800,000 debt. Soccer has been restored for next year only.


University President Blenda J. Wilson told an audience of about 50--including 13 committee members--that bringing back the men’s sports and adding the requisite corresponding women’s programs would cost the school about $900,000 per year, money the school doesn’t have.

Supporters of the athletic program weren’t buying it.

“This community is very upset,” the same woman added. “Don’t mistake that the strength lies only in us [parents]. If you are looking for corporate money and alumni support, you’re not going to get it.”

A Northridge baseball fan said the university should have consulted the community before making the cuts.

“We moved to this city from North Hollywood to be near CSUN,” he said, noting this his family donated $5,000 to the university. “The sports fiasco is a management and planning issue. You’d better get some accountants.”

The athletic program spent $5.4 million last year--about $800,000 over budget. Athletic Director Paul Bubb said the deficit was caused by lower than anticipated revenue, plus travel costs that surpassed original estimates by $170,000.

However, neither Bubb nor Ron Kopita, a university vice president, said they knew exactly what was spent last year for travel. Bubb said the information would be made available to reporters on Monday.


Even without the four men’s sports, Northridge’s athletic budget for next year is still $5.36 million--about $300,000 more than officials project in revenue. Arthur Elbert, Northridge’s vice president of finance, said he hopes money from television rights and sponsorships might make up the difference.

In another development, Wilson reported in an open letter that it cost $567,171 last year for Northridge to be affiliated in the Big Sky Conference. In contrast, the university is expecting to save $575,099 by cutting the four sports.