Athletes Plea for Fee Funds

Athletic Director Earl Edwards said Wednesday that the continued existence of UCSD’s athletic program as it now exists may depend on the passage of the Campus Life Fee Referendum.

The referendum, which would implement an increase of $71.40 per student each quarter, would allot $19 of that additional fee to the NCAA athletic program.

Edwards warned the athletes from such teams as basketball, crew, and track and field that should the referendum fail to pass, the athletic program would receive a crippling monetary blow from which it may not fully recover.

“”If it passes, we will be able to continue with the athletic program as we know it today,”” Edwards said.

Edwards went on to say that without the fee increase, “”half our budget would not be available to us.””

Edwards said this would mean that the administration would have to seriously consider eliminating certain sports teams in the near future.

“”We might have to downsize our program if we don’t have the revenue,”” Edwards said. There are currently 23 sports teams at UCSD.

However, Edwards also said the athletic program has not begun to seriously consider how many or which teams would be considered for cutting.

“”We haven’t set up criteria yet,”” he said. “”How expensive the program obviously would be a factor.””

For teams like women’s crew, which recently spent $12,500 on a new four-oared shell, this is a serious warning. Though this most recent purchase was funded by alumni donations, crew has the potential to spend up to $22,000 on each boat.

Assistant women’s crew coach Jack Vallerga, however, did not express much concern about the future of his team.

“”I’m not taking what Earl Edwards said as a threat just because crew is a very expensive sport, but [the possibility of cuts] is a reality,”” Vallerga said.

Another factor Edwards noted as crucial, should the removal of teams become necessary, is the ratio of male to female teams.

“”It would be suicide to drop any female sports because of the Title IV lawsuit,”” Edwards said.

This said, Edwards and Matthew DeFord, the representative for the athletic program in the student committee that drafted the referendum, launched a plea for all athletes to encourage students to vote next week.

Voting will begin Monday, April 23, and end Friday, April 27. Twelve polling booths stationed throughout campus will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all week.

Four thousand students must vote in the special election for the fee to be eligible to pass. Once the required 4,000-vote minimum is reached, a simple majority is needed for the fee to pass.

“”Basically, if 3,000 people vote and 2,900 of those votes are in favor of the referendum, it can’t pass,”” DeFord said. “”We have to have 4,000 people vote.””

DeFord said that the athletic program has already acquired powerful allies in its quest to attain the needed votes.

“”We already have on our side the sports clubs, the Greek system and several college counsels,”” he said.

However, DeFord said that the people who vote “”no”” are not his main concern.

“”It’s the people who don’t vote at all who are our biggest threat,”” DeFord stressed.

Because the voting will not be available via StudentLink, Edwards warned athletes that encouraging people to vote was a priority.

“”We’ve never had 4,000 students vote for anything at UCSD, either for or against,”” he said.

DeFord said that in addition to the 500 to 600 athletes urging students to vote, a subcommittee will be handing out literature about the Campus Life Referendum to educate and inform students.

“”It’s not an athletic fee,”” Edwards stressed. “”It involves all students.””

Duncan McFarland, women’s volleyball coach, echoed this sentiment.

“”It’s certainly very important for our team as well as other teams,”” he said. “”It will increase fees for everyone but it will benefit everyone as well.””

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