The UC Irvine athletics department is in trouble and if history repeats itself, it is likely that sports programs will continue to be underfunded or even dropped in the near future.
No one in the administration would suggest this could happen, but with the department operating in the red during the past three years and athletic director Bob Chichester resigning, the future of UCI sports is at a critical juncture.
The UCI administration must determine whether it will continue to view athletics as a liability or put forth the effort to consider it on the same level as academics.
In the past few years, the athletics department has raised record funds but increasing operating costs have put the future of some programs in peril.
Before resigning, Chichester made it clear that there must be some changes by the administration.
‘I think the department staff, like myself, have been concerned about the financial support of the department for quite a while now,’ Chichester said in an article in the Daily Pilot. ‘And there’s a big concern for the future.’
The New University reported on some of the budget problems in the past and the blame for these problems must be placed on someone.
The problem is not with the staff or the coaches because they work for low salaries and are placed in impossible situations to build winning programs despite cuts in funding.
Chichester must take some responsibility because he is the athletic director and in charge of overseeing athletic operations.
The department made great strides when Dan Guerrero was the athletic director from 1992-2002 and it is safe to say the program has not been the same since.
But at the same time equal blame can be placed on the UCI administration.
So far the administration has made it clear that it prefers a partially funded athletic department which it supports only when it does well, but cuts funding when it becomes convenient.
Men’s volleyball won the National Title this year and the next step should be to allocate more funds to make sure Head Coach John Speraw has all the resources needed to maintain a winning program.
Instead the program had its funding cut a year ago. What message does that send to the program?
It is unlikely that the administration will change its ways because the pressure is not there. No other papers report as extensively on the problem the school faces in maintaining the 23 Division I sports on campus.
Students need to realize part of their fees
Filed Under: Sports