by Dillon Meehan
A joint task force formed in July with school administrators, students and members of the athletic department held an open forum this past week to discuss to future of Central Connecticut athletics.
Christopher Galligan, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, led a presentation in the Connecticut Room in Memorial Hall. In his presentation, Galligan described that the duty of the task force was to come up with an economic model that would reduce the athletic program’s reliance on revenue from the university.
Currently, the athletic department is scheduled to spend $15,239,464 in 2017, and will only earn $1,706,123. This means CCSU has to pay for the $13,533,341 deficit, according to the data provided by Galligan.
“This is all we are ready to show currently, we’re still waiting for the data to be finalized. It should be available soon,” said Galligan when asked how accurate the data was.
Of the $15 million, around $3.7 million is because of salary and wages, and nearly $6 million is given out in aid from the university. Of the approximately 400 student-athletes, around 270 are receiving aid, and only 76 are on a full scholarship, according to Galligan.
When looking at other CSCU schools, Southern Connecticut, who competes at the Division II level, only pays around $6 million. Eastern Connecticut and Western Connecticut, who both compete at the Division III level, pay $3 million each.
The task force was looking at options that were being considered, looking at each sport from a profit-loss standpoint, deciding if dropping down to Division II is a viable option, or dropping athletics all together. While the latter option is unlikely, professors argued in favor of removing athletics and shifting the funds towards academics.
Dr. David Spector, a biology professor, argued that it would be nice to see some of the funding be transferred over to the library, insisting that he is tired of being asked which academic journals his department can do without.
“Imagine what it would look like if our university decided to drop athletics and use that to fund the library,” said Spector.
While some faculty argued for dropping certain sports in order to lower costs, CCSU has 18 varsity sports, and the NCAA minimum for Division I programs is 14. Dropping down to Division II could require finding a replacement team for the NEC, and require a Division II conference invite.
During the presentation, Galligan said that he hopes the task force will meet within the next two weeks to collaborate with SGA and then give a formalized plan to President Dr. Zulma Toro by the end of the month.