California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Examining Cal Lutheran’s athletic budget

    At the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division III level, student athletes at California Lutheran University participate in games that are free to attend.

    So, it should come as no surprise that the Kingsmen football program generates significantly less revenue than a Division I program like Texas A&M which, according to Forbes, generated annual revenues of $148 million over the last three years from football alone.

    “There is no ticket revenue or broadcast revenue from our programs,” said Jim McHugh, associate vice president for athletic affairs and Title IX coordinator at Cal Lutheran. “A team may bring in a little money from offering a camp, but these amounts are pretty small,and there isn’t any sport that brings in much more than others. This is consistent with many NCAA Division III athletic programs.”

    In his role as VP for Athletic Affairs, McHugh is responsible for all athletic-related fundraising and programming.

    “I oversee the budget and work closely with the athletic director to allocate the one-quarter of the athletics budget that is spent on goods and services,” McHugh said in an email interview.

    McHugh said roughly 3 percent of the university’s budget goes toward the athletics department.

    “The athletics budget is allocated from the overall university budget,” McHugh said. “Nearly 90 percent of the operating revenue in the overall budget for the whole university comes from what students pay in tuition, fees, room and board. The rest of the budget comes from gifts, grants and other income.”

    Title IX requires institutions to provide female and male students an opportunity to become athletics participants and receive equitable treatment based on the tangible benefits that athletes actually receive.

    “Title IX permits great flexibility, and administrators may choose to emphasize certain teams as long as the overall result does not disadvantage students on the basis of sex,” McHugh said.

    It does not, however, impose any requirements for budgeting procedures.

    “Different teams, by virtue of their sport, have different expense because of their size, equipment needs, travel expense, etc.,” McHugh said. “So, if the university were to spend donor funds on lights for a baseball field, the institution’s obligations would be determined by what the students received as a result of the expenditures, in this case the facility improvement.”

    Cal Lutheran’s athletic trainers, who travel to almost every away game throughout the season, are constrained by budget restrictions when teams play preseason games out-of-state.

    “The team may not have the budget to send us and we certainly don’t have the budget to travel ourselves,” Assistant Athletic Trainer Cody Owens said. “So a lot of times it’s budget-oriented as to why we might not travel in the pre-season.”

    The NCAA will pick up the majority of travel costs for a team going to an NCAA championship tournament. However, McHugh said that costs not covered by the NCAA fall on the athletics department to fund.

    “No additional money is added to a team’s budget because they earned a spot in the championship series,” McHugh said.

    The athletics department does not meet with head coaches before the season to discuss what the teams’ budgets will be for the year. But each coach is aware of what their goods and services budget is for the fiscal year, according to McHugh.

    “They are notified if there has been an increase from the previous year,” McHugh said.

    When it comes to ordering new equipment and jerseys, other universities in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) have similar policies.

    “In our department, we have a three-year new uniform rotation,” said Jeff Martinez, athletic director at the University of Redlands. “Any program that purchases new uniforms out of that cycle would have to find the funding within their program or fundraising efforts.”

    McHugh said Cal Lutheran’s teams purchase new apparel and equipment every year through the school’s vendor, BSN Sports.

    “The order is approved at the department level and then the invoice is paid when the product is delivered,” McHugh said.

    Most universities that sponsor athletic programs receive additional donations from boosters. The Victory Club was founded in 2013 as a fundraising entity for Cal Lutheran, supplementing the athletic budget in areas that may need assistance. This can include out-of-conference team travel, professional development for coaches, uniforms and equipment.

    McHugh, who oversees the Victory Club, said there are approximately 300 members. There are seven membership levels of the Victory Club. Donors who give more than $10,000 are classified at the “National Championship Level” and earn a letterman jacket, a Forrest Fitness Center membership, Victory Club gear and two spots in the annual Victory Club golf tournament.

    This year’s Victory Club golf tournament will be on Oct. 22 at Moorpark Country Club.

    McHugh said the Victory Club golf tournament raises between $35,000 and $45,000 a year.

    McHugh said that Cal Lutheran’s athletic department has a couple of major projects on the horizon, including redesigns to both playing surfaces in Gilbert Arena and William Rolland Stadium.

    This summer, the court in Gilbert Arena will be redesigned to include Cal Lutheran’s new logo. McHugh said the football field will eventually be re-turfed to include the new logo, but that it is several years out as there is “still life left in the current turf.”

    Jake Gould