As a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the chair of the finance subcommittee of that commission, I feel compelled to respond to your editorial in the March 8 edition of the Sundial.
I applaud the Sundial editors for their willingness to be the first ones to start the discussion among CSUN students and the campus community about the future of the CSUN Athletics. This is one of the main recommendations of the Blue Ribbon commission report. By the way, the report is available online through a link on CSUN’s homepage (http://www.csun.edu) and I encourage everybody to take a look at it. The members of the Commission gave very serious consideration to find ways to fund CSUN Athletics. It is clear to us that the university spends too much of general fund dollars on Athletics, funds that are better spend to support the educational mission of the institution.
Let me speak to some of the suggestions the Sundial editors make. The editorial argues that on one hand they want the university to spend more money on the educational mission, a goal all of us on the Commission support as well, and then chides the university when it tries to do exactly that by spending less on Athletics.
The Commission members understand very well that this is a zero sum game. The university spending less on Athletics means spending more on the core educational mission of the institution and vice versa. On the other hand the members of the Commission also believe that CSUN Athletics needs to be better funded to stay competitive. ??
Let me speak to some of the suggestions made in the editorial. Aside from it being illegal, the suggestion to use parking fees to pay for Athletics seems utterly disingenuous and a misrepresentation of what the money is for. Parking money is to maintain and improve parking facilities on campus, not for Athletics. That’s the law and a good idea as well.
The suggestion to funnel some of the money raised for the PAC to Athletics is loaded with the same problem. You cannot misrepresent to potential donors the use of their funds. The university would be greatly hurt in their effort to raise funds for anything if dishonest practices like the one suggested were in place. ?
If the CSUN Foundation gives more money to CSUN Athletics then less money will come from that entity to the general fund in support of CSUN’s educational mission. Again, we are faced with a zero sum game. ?
The Commission did suggest that the university start discussions with students on their commitment, and yes, that does include financial commitment, to CSUN Athletics.
The Commission members have made no assumptions as to the outcome of those discussions. That was NOT our charge. ?For that reason we did not include detailed recommendations as to the nature of future facilities to be built. That would have meant prejudging the outcome of such discussions.
I hope students keep in mind that while they spend a few years here as students and may resent the additional fees during those years, they will be CSUN alumni for the rest of their lives and feeling good about your alma mater could include watching our basketball team beat Pacific for the conference championship and going to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row, or reading that our soccer team made the final four. I hope to be around for those days and I hope students will find something appealing in that vision as well.
I hope the Sundial will continue to be the forum where a large part of these discussions takes place. I look forward to them!
Michael Neubauer Professor of Mathematics Blue Ribbon Commission member Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Council email@example.com