Regents tackle Brohm contract and budget cuts in Fri. meeting


The Board of Regents discussed head football coach Jeff Brohm’s contract and another multi-million dollar state budget cut Friday morning. 

The Board approved Brohm’s four-year, $600,000 contract, but not without opposition from faculty regent Patricia Minter. 

“We’re funding one piece of the puzzle, while the other pieces…are run on a shoestring,” Minter said. 

Minter cited a Knight Commission report, which estimated WKU spent over $36,000 per student athlete while regularly enrolled full-time students received less than $12,000 per student. 

President Gary Ransdell called the quoted study “flawed,” only taking into consideration certain aspects of student spending.

Todd Stewart, WKU Athletics Director, said the football coaching staff payroll remains $1.65 million, the same amount as the previous year. 

“Seventy-five percent of programs in the country have an athletic budget greater than $25 million,” Stewart said. “In relation to our peers, the people we compete with on a daily basis, we are way below average.”

The proposed 2.5 percent state budget cut also weighed heavily in Board discussion. 

Robbin Taylor, vice president for Public Affairs, said the university is tracking both Senate and House bills that could further the effects of another major budget cut. 

“We have had very positive conversations with a number of legislators looking to reduce the cut to higher education,” she said. 

The Board also passed new academic degrees, including a new BA in Criminology, and minors in Family Home Visiting and Systems Engineering. 

Brian Meredith, associate vice president of Enrollment Management, reported the highest January term enrollment in four years, up nearly 8 percent from last year. 

Provost Gordon Emslie said spring enrollment rose from spring 2013 by nearly 2 percent, from 83 percent to 84.8 percent.

He predicted spring enrollment declining but retention figures rising, and said the enrollment office would have more finalized numbers by February. 

Joelle Carter, vice president of Retention and Student Services, presented a MAP-Works report, detailing how the university identifies at-risk students.

Ouida and Albert Meier with the Green River Preserve gave the board an update on the university’s extensive involvement and recognition for that project. 

Kathryn Costello, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations, said the university has received over $9 million in alumni giving, on track for $17 million in annual giving. 

The meeting went into a closed session to discuss any lawsuits involving the university following Costello’s report.