Many students have no idea that they’re funding sports programs on this campus. Whether or not this is an appropriate allocation of student fees is a big topic of debate, but here’s something we’re pretty sure most can agree on: If students are funding sports, students should have a voice in how major decisions are made in the athletics department.
Rewind to earlier this month — ASUCD President Rebecca Sterling vetoed a resolution that would have called for increased transparency and greater student influence within the UC Davis Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA). She said certain parts of the bill were inappropriate and she wished there had been more student-athletes involved in its creation. Senator Kabir Kapur plans to introduce a resolution with the same idea, making adjustments based on Sterling’s comments, later this quarter. We hope it passes.
Rewind further — four sports were cut in April 2010. The University cited campus wide budget cuts. Discontinuing women’s rowing, men’s wrestling, men’s swimming and diving and men’s track and field was set to save $2.4 million.
For student-athletes, this was a tumultuous time. Some believed that these cuts were unnecessary, that there was foul play between the administration, ICA and the committees that made the decision. Some are still fighting for those four sports to be reinstated.
Those people will point out select budgetary mysteries, like how ICA was supposed to absorb $400,000 in operational expenses once the sports were discontinued. But instead, those expenditures increased to $600,000.
Student fees contribute about $18 million to ICA each year. Unwittingly, students fund 75 percent of the ICA’s total budget.
When students are funding sports, it only seems reasonable to give students some access to the inner-workings of ICA.
If there was a panel of students that was given a chance to comment on the cuts in April 2010 before they happened, could a sport — or two, or all four — have been saved? We’ll never know.