*Editor’s note: This story has been updated because incomplete information regarding overall budget cuts in WKU’s athletics programs was distributed Wednesday with information on other budget cuts affecting the university. The Herald will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
WKU’s Track and Field will program will be subjected to a 50 percent budget cut — an estimated $700,000 — in the coming year.
This is roughly a half-million dollars more than reported in today’s print edition of the Herald. The $200,000 cut reported today is the amount of funding from the university’s general fund budget cut from the program. The remaining cut comes from other sources, including money from the student athletics fee.
On Wednesday, President Gary Ransdell announced WKU’s plans for reducing the university’s budget given the final actions taken by the Kentucky General Assembly on the 2016-2018 biennial budget.
Part of the announcement included news that the WKU track and field team’s six programs would collectively be subjected to a $200,000 budget cut in terms of the university general fund.
“Like the university, we tried to protect our core priorities,” Ransdell said. “The athletic department, with the challenge they were given to balance the budget, tried to protect its core priorities and made a difficult decision but a decision I support.”
The Herald earlier reported that Coach Erik Jenkins told his players in a team meeting on the night of April 19 that the team would have half of its $1.5 million budget cut for the coming year.
Senior distance runner Aaron Stevens said today that Athletic Director Todd Stewart met with the team early this morning to tell them that they will be subjected to an overall budget cut of 50 percent.
“I asked about the $200,000 on the PDF” distributed by the university, Stevens said. He said Stewart told the team that the PDF represented “only the state money track is losing. Student enrollment fees go into athletics as well and that’s the extra $500,000 that we are losing. All that is on the PDF is state money cuts, not actual cuts to each program.”
The Herald tried to reach the athletic department Wednesday afternoon, after the media briefing, for clarification on the difference between the PDF sent in an email by President Ransdell and the 50 percent budget cut that had been reported earlier, but no one responded.
Also, the 5 percent budget cut that all other athletic programs will take was not reported in the budget reduction plan.