Each year college athletic departments are tasked with balancing a budget for the next school year. This means difficult cuts must be made or vacant positions must be left unfilled. The Pacific University Athletic Department is no exception to this and it appears the picture for next year’s budget is becoming a little clearer based on the moves or lack of moves that have been made.
Earlier this year, the Pacific Sports Information office lost its assistant staff member to a school in Virginia. This move left the current sports information director on his own, tasked with covering the 24 varsity sports offered at Pacific by himself, with the help of student workers.
With the athletic department showing no signs of hiring a new assistant to the vacant position, questions have arose as to what the plan is for the future. The assumption has been made that the move to leave the position vacant is a financial driven decision. But is it fair to ask one person to be responsible with the coverage of 24 teams?
Anyone who knows the current sports information director is well aware of the hard work and countless hours that are put into the job. By not hiring an assistant it seems that it is going to make a hard job, even harder.
With eager candidates lined up to fill the role, the athletic department appears to have a plan going forward that involves not hiring someone new to the assistant position, and will likely include relying on the help of student workers to fill the position. However, the issue here is that student workers are not full-time workers. Meaning the product that the sports information department will be producing will not be of the same quality of the full-time staff member’s. This does not mean students are not capable of the job, but they will not be able to devote as much of their time to work and produce a product that the university can show off to perspective students.
But if the decision to leave the position open was strictly financial based, then the positive here is that it saves the athletic department money for the future. However, the obvious question here is where will that money go? Will it go toward improving the facilities? Will it be dispersed amongst the 24 teams? Or will it go into other salaries in the athletic department?
It is unclear at this time where that money will go if indeed the assistant position is not filled. But before that question is answered, should we not be questioning whether or not there is a more viable option that will help aid the sports information department, rather than create more work?
Pacific has one of the highest number of athletic teams than any school at the Division III level. With every other team in the Northwest Conference having between 13 and 19 athletic teams, the question that needs to be asked is, can Pacific really afford to have 24 athletic teams. And this is not even including the junior varsity teams.
The benefit of offering the high number of sports is that it brings in more students to the school, thus generating more revenue. However, the issue that has begun to take hold over the past few years is that some of the teams at Pacific barely have enough kids to field a team.
If your roster consists of only five players, or you constantly have to play against other schools with two or three less players, is it really benefiting the university? First off, it does not make the university look very strong when you are unable to compete against other schools in the conference. Secondly, you have to wonder if these teams are actually costing the university money considering the amount of traveling they do and the stipulations they receive like lodging and food.
The athletic department may need to reevaluate what kind of budget cut will better benefit the university and the department as a whole.