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Volume 24 No. 176
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Cal Chancellor Emphasizes Need For Revenue Sports To Be Competitive To Hit Budget Goals

If Cal Chancellor Carol Christ's master plan for the athletic department "unfolds as designed, she’ll have the information necessary to determine a fiscally and competitively sustainable long-term model" for the school, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Christ said, "Cal has a long tradition (with) Olympic sports. Where there has been schizophrenia on campus ... has been football and basketball. That’s where the big discussion has to happen. Cal has to be competitive in the revenue-generating sports; that’s the only way to make the budget work. But competitive at what level is still a really important question the campus needs to grapple with." Christ said that 54% of the total debt load (believed to be approximately $440M for the Memorial Stadium and Simpson Training Center projects) "will be shifted." That equates to about $9.5M per year in debt service payments, "removed from athletic operations -- at least in the short term." Wilner writes like all of Cal's departments, athletics "must have a balanced budget" by '20. Cal finished FY '17 with a $16M deficit and expects a "comparable bottom-line figure for the current fiscal year." Christ: "The campus has, for decades, not dealt honestly with the budget. And it has not sought to reconcile how much money it takes to run a sports program and how much money we’ve allocated." Shifting "more than half the debt off the athletic department’s books will provide massive relief but is not expected to balance the budget, raising the specter of sports cuts in the near future." Christ has "described that as a 'last resort' and appears committed to having every morsel of information at her disposal before determining the size and scope of the athletic department" (San Jose MERCURY  NEWS, 12/15).