Campus: CSU Fresno -- January 23, 2004
Drive for Bulldog Soccer, Swim Teams Falls Short - One-Year Hiatus Declared
A valiant effort by boosters and student-athletes -- in partnership
with the university -- has fallen short of a goal to secure guaranteed
funding for the Bulldogs soccer and swimming programs for now at California
State University, Fresno.
But as a result of the booster’s efforts in nearly reaching the
goal, the university is placing the programs on a one-year hiatus --
rather than terminating the programs completely.
That will allow the boosters the opportunity to keep building on those
efforts to raise the guaranteed funds needed, said Dr. Paul Oliaro,
vice president for student affairs and dean of students who serves as
chairman of the Athletic Corporation board.
University officials and boosters jointly announce today that $1.6 million
was pledged during the eight-month campaign to raise the $2.05 million
guarantee that was needed to support the programs' annual operating
budgets for a rolling four-year period.
However, a total of $1.2 million of that $2.05 million could be guaranteed
by boosters -- leaving too wide a gap, $800,000, to allow the programs
to continue normally for next year, said Oliaro. Randall Smith of the
Valley Soccer Foundation and Diane Anderson, swimming fundraising coordinator,
reported this morning to the Athletic Corporation that the goal for
the guarantees needed is not attainable at this time.
“We are disappointed that we could not overcome this challenge
at this time and we wish to thank the community for its support of our
efforts during this campaign,” Smith said. “However, our
job is not complete. We will continue to work for the revival of these
important programs. The support we encountered showed that it can be
Oliaro said the university is committed to working with community supporters
of the programs. “We want very much for the programs to continue
at Fresno State but, as stewards of a public institution, we must ensure
that they are properly funded,” Oliaro said. “This $800,000
gap will be a tough hurdle to overcome but we will have to overcome
it if we want the programs to continue with adequate funding. We are
willing to keep working with them on this.”
Both Smith and Anderson said they are pleased that the one-year hiatus
has been extended and that it provides an energizing boost to continue
the campaign for the 2004-05 season and beyond.
Anderson praised the boosters and donors for their work and the university
for its receptiveness to continued efforts as well as for demonstrating
flexibility during the campaign, including efforts by the Athletic Department
staff to re-work the budget from a $2.7 million initial projection for
operating the programs.
“The swimming community is committed to continuing fundraising
efforts and is pleased to have the additional time to raise these funds,”
Fresno State Athletics Director Scott Johnson said, “This was
a difficult action to take. We are grateful to all those who worked
so hard to maintain the funding for these two sports for this year.
“As I said before, we did not want to cut sports programs, but
after extensive review and implementing other cost-saving measures the
past two years, we have exhausted our options,” Johnson said.
“We could not continue to sacrifice the quality of our programs
by further watering them down.”
Johnson said these cuts are extremely painful but he has been encouraged
by the discussions with the boosters and the plan to hold off for a
“I feel that this moratorium leaves the door open to reinstate
the programs in the future,” he said. The Fresno State's Athletic
Corporation Board of Trustees voted last April to eliminate the men's
soccer, men's cross country, men's indoor track and field and women's
swimming and diving as a cost-cutting measure recommended by Athletics
Director Scott Johnson to achieve a balanced operating budget.
The cuts were intended to save the Fresno State Athletic Department
more than $557,000 for 2003-04, and a net savings of $1.6 million over
the next three years.
For the past seven consecutive years, the Fresno State athletics department
failed to post a balanced budget, including in 2002-03, when significant
budget cuts implemented failed to achieve the objective.
Further budget cuts had to be made to implement a balance budget for
2003-04 including the elimination of the men's cross country and indoor
track and field teams in addition to the men's soccer and women's swimming
and diving teams.
While the cuts were initially planned for this fall, the boosters were
able to raise funds in May to keep them alive through the 2003-04 season
pending a follow-up campaign for a four-year plan that the university
required in order to fully continue the programs. That follow-up deadline
was set for Jan. 15 but the university worked with the boosters to allow
a few more days for a report.
Contact: Tom Uribes 559-278-5366 or Steve Weakland