Budget Council recommends athletics budget cut of over $1.3 million

WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart stands before the Board of Regents on Jan. 26 in Jody Richards Hall to ask that Rick Stansbury’s annual base salary be raised by $150,000. At the Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 23 the WKU Budget Council reccommended a $1.3 million athletics budget cut.

Jeremy Chisenhall

At Friday’s WKU Board of Regents meeting, the recommended Budget Council budget cuts were revealed, which included an athletics budget cut of over $1.3 million. 

The exact figure of the recommended cut is $1,346,259 from university funding. That would be a 5.7 percent reduction of the athletic program’s 2017-18 proposed budget of $23.6 million. 

The $1.3 million signifies an approximate 8 percent reduction athletics is bearing for the overall $15 million deficit. 

“Everyone across the university will share in some part of this pain,” President Timothy Caboni said in a press conference following the meeting. “They certainly will share in some portion of the reduction. At the same time, we want to make sure that we continue our winning traditions … that’s important for us as we work through our recruitment opportunities.”

In the budget restructuring plan, the Budget Council recommended that the university “Ensure institutional support for Athletics is addressed in the RAMP (Resource Allocation, Management and Planning Committee) process in the development of a new budget model.” 

Caboni accepted that recommendation, but also chose to take under advisement the second portion of the athletics recommendation that states “the growth in per athlete athletic spending should not outpace the growth in per student academic spending.”

WKU athletics’ $23.6 million was the third-most funded area of allocation in WKU’s 2018 budget, behind academic affairs, which was budgeted for $221.7 million, and Chief Facilities Officer, which was budgeted for $28.9 million. 

During the regents meeting, Caboni said people in positions eliminated will be able to keep their position until June 30, unless they choose to leave earlier. 

“The conversation around what the reductions are and what positions are, are ongoing,” Caboni said. “They’re ongoing in Potter College, they’re ongoing in our College of Engineering, they’re ongoing in student affairs, and so that’s the case with athletics as well.”