Masters Thesis

An Assessment of balanced budget priorities in California State University athletic programs: remaining competitive in a crisis environment

California State University (CSU) intercollegiate athletic programs are faced with tough discussions every budget cycle. Budget discussions begin with the planning and forecasting of revenues and expenses. However, many revenue sources are decreasing due to the current economic downturn. In addition, expenditures costs are increasing at record levels. For example, some programs dependent on interest income from endowments are not receiving the same return on their investments. Tuition costs and travel costs are increasing to unsustainable levels. The following information will review and examine what other CSU athletic programs are doing to balance budgets while remaining competitive in a crisis environment. How will they increase revenues as well as reduce spending? Information will be identified as to how other campuses are exploring options of increasing revenues. Reductions or possible eliminations related to scholarship, recruiting, supplies and services and travel expenditures will be identified. The importance of this study will assist in establishing the priority shifts being made my other CSU athletic programs. While establishing the importance of this study, there will be a review of literature to examine information currently being discussed as each intercollegiate athletic program struggles with the tough decisions of budget shortfalls. In addition, information from other athletic programs outside of CSU athletic programs will be available for review. The intent of this study is to explore strategies to assist CSU intercollegiate athletic programs with the decision making process of budgetary challenges within a competitive environment. This study will provide information to help analyze and establish priorities for athletic administrators to lead and manage a successful athletic program. Potential solution strategies will be provided to explain opportunities related to increasing revenues as well as decreasing expenditures during the budgetary planning process. The following areas will be discussed related to increasing revenues. Increasing major gift donations as well as endowments is an area to explore. Expanding corporate sponsorships revenues increases would be helpful. The possibility of public-private partnerships is an option of increased revenues. Many CSU athletic programs will pursue student fee referendums. Some campuses are reviewing occupancy tax options. Although donations are typically made to the general athletic funds, many campuses are allowing sport specific donations. Decreasing expenditures is necessary as intercollegiate athletic programs struggle to balance budget shortfalls. The following areas will assist athletic programs as they begin to review possibilities of decreasing expenditures. Reducing budgets across all areas of sport specific budgets is typically the first response by athletic administrators. Some are reducing only with the minor sports. Others are eliminating pre-season competition as well as non-traditional competition. Eliminating entire sport teams is the most difficult decision. Exploring all options is imperative as athletic administrators establish trade-offs and changing priorities. The importance of identifying changes in revenue sources and priorities may assist athletic administration in balancing their budgets in ways that do not put them at a competitive disadvantage.

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