Rec sports in need of fiscal fitness
Intramural sports at SF State may face losing one-third of their budget
September 27, 2007 10:15 AM
The fate of SF State’s Recreational Sports Program currently lies in the hands of the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
RSP faces a one-third cut to its services if the SFAC fails to reach a quorum and recommend a $7 fee increase to President Robert Corrigan on Oct. 3.
For two years, SF State’s Recreational Sports Program experienced frustration with its attempts to increase funding to sustain intramural sports, open gym, and Club Sports, according to Kinesiology Department Chair David Anderson.
The Kinesiology Department proposed the $9 RSP fee to alleviate the high demand for intramural sports, open gym, and Club Sports. Students currently pay a $55 instructionally related athletics activities fee every semester, and $2 goes toward funding RSP.
“If we do not receive additional funding, we will have to cut back to stay within our budget of $120,000, give or take,” said Ajani Byrd, interim Director of RSP, which is a separate entity from Athletics. “We would have to cut $39,000, so a third of our programs need to be cut to be where we should be.”
RSP funding is strictly based on student enrollment, and does not collect additional fees from students, Byrd said.
“It’s an overused but under-funded program,” Byrd said.
Though RSP does not prominently advertise its activities, they can hardly bear the weight of the 3,525 students who participate, according to a 2005 university task force report about Club Sports.
Prior to the task force report, Club Sports did not formally exist, Anderson said. The task force recommended that RSP absorb Club Sports, as well as create an infrastructure to support it. The task force was successful in adjusting the director’s part-time position to full-time, and creating a part-time coordinator. The staff members were working 60 and 40 hours respectively to meet the demand, and the 2006-2007 RSP fiscal budget had a $38,750 deficit.
RSP is currently projecting the 2007-2008 fiscal budget as a deficit. If SFAC does not reccommend the fee increase, the program is “not sustainable and we would need to make pretty drastic cuts,” Anderson said.
The task force also found that RSP was “sorely under-funded in both operations and staff.” The report also describes RSP as “one of the university’s least broadcast successes.”
RSP was founded in the early ’90s by a faculty member in the kinesiology department, and in 1997, Paula Moran became Director of RSP, but is currently on disability retirement leave, Anderson said.
“It was largely through the volunteerism and Paula Moran, who basically did the work of three people,” Anderson said. “She built [RSP] up and she was able to sustain it. She was here from 8 in the morning until midnight, and she was coming in on the weekends to repair equipment.”
Ariela Ramos, a lifeguard during open gym, recalls the energy Moran put forth to keep RSP running.
“She was on her feet a lot. She was always so busy she didn’t have time to take a breather,” Ramos said. “If we had it the way she envisioned it, she would be able to get the time off that she needed. I feel she was forced to leave. With the circumstances surrounding the situation, she had to.”
Moran could not be reached for comment.
Club Sports compete in tournaments in a local, regional, and national intercollegiate level and include fencing, running, sailing, swimming, tae kwon do, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and wushu. Currently Club Sports does not receive any money from the RSP budget, according to the proposal. Club Sports collect their own fees from members, hold fundraisers, and collect donations. If the fee increase is approved, RSP will allocate money to Club Sports.
When RSP gathers intramural sports teams, some teams are unable to participate because the schedule and facilities are impacted.
“We simply turn them away — we don’t have any other option,” Anderson said. “We turn away teams because we can’t accommodate them, and that’s even when we have competitions till midnight.”
Some students oppose the fee increase and would rather redistribute the funds to sustain RSP.
“They should consider cutting sports that aren’t popular,” said Artie Luna, a broadcasting student who was playing badminton during open gym. “Instead of increasing the fee, just cut back.”
Other students do not want cut RSP services.
“I couldn’t imagine going to a school without recreational sports and not having somewhere to go to release stress,” Ramos said.
Byrd is optimistic that SFAC will recommend the proposal.
”There’s always going to be students who do not want it, but I think a majority of students will support it,” Byrd said. “We’re the best kept secret on this campus.”
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