Campus: CSU Northridge -- November 14, 2001
Athletics Experts Say Northridge Should Drop Football
Two national collegiate athletics experts with decades of
experience have endorsed the recommendation that Cal State Northridge
discontinue its football program after the current season to help remedy
the university's spiraling athletics budget deficits.
Former National Collegiate Athletic Association President Joseph Crowley,
now president emeritus of the University of Nevada, Reno, and University
of Cincinnati Director of Athletics Bob Goin, a nationally recognized
figure with four decades of athletics experience, concluded that Northridge's
Athletics Department made the correct recommendation last month.
"Dropping a sport is a painful undertaking for a university,"
the pair wrote in their report to Northridge President Jolene Koester,
who had requested the independent, outside review. "Dropping football,
the biggest sports program, is particularly painful
we believe that is the decision CSUN now must make," they added.
The two veteran athletics figures also counseled that Northridge, contrary
to some speculation, can have a strong intercollegiate athletics program
without playing football. "There is abundant evidence that can be
marshaled in support of this answer," the pair said in their report,
citing the many successful NCAA Division I schools that do not compete
Crowley and Goin were asked to evaluate the October 1 recommendation by
Northridge's Athletics Department and Athletics Director Dick Dull. The
department recommended discontinuing football to help remedy athletics
budget shortfalls projected at $725,000 this year and expected to reach
nearly $1 million-a-year by 2004-05 unless something is done.
In preparing their report, Crowley and Goin reviewed the Athletics Department
report and spent a day at Northridge in late October touring the university's
athletics facilities and interviewing key figures. Those included Athletics
Department administrators, head football coach Jeff Kearin, student government
leaders, and representatives of several other campus entities.
President Koester is considering the Crowley-Goin report along with many
other individual comments that have been submitted to the university during
the past month and a half since the Athletics Department issued its recommendation.
President Koester has promised to make a decision on the department's
recommendation by Thanksgiving.
In reviewing the status of Northridge athletics, Crowley and Goin concluded,
"The athletic program's financial situation is precarious. Simply
put, the budget is decidedly inadequate to support a Division I program
that includes football. That has been the program's position, apparently,
since it moved up from Division II nearly a decade ago."
After recounting the relatively high cost of running a football program,
Northridge's inadequate facilities for football, poor attendance at football
games and very modest external financial support for the sport, they said,
"Given these considerations, the logic driving the recommendation
"Even with the discontinuation of football, maintaining a 20 sport
Division I program would be a daunting task for the university,"
the pair added in their report. Northridge, now at 21 sports with football,
already offers one of the broadest intercollegiate athletics programs
among comparable institutions, spending more than $7 million a year on
To keep the entire athletics program strong even without football, Crowley
and Goin said the university must have a university commitment to significantly
improve its fundraising for athletics and, by doing so, find ways to fund
various athletics facility upgrades that are important to the future of