How budget cuts affect COC’s sports programs

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College of the Canyons athletics have suffered from budget cuts over the past years, causing major headache for student-athletes to raise money for their sports programs.

Proper funding for these programs help provide student-athletes attending COC with basic necessities that don’t require these students to pay out-of-pocket, as they struggle to support themselves while juggling school, a possible job, and maintaining their responsibility to the team.

Many coaches respond differently to the new financial strain, as each program is run differently in contrast to each other.

“We are more conscious about how we spend our money and when we spend it, such as the gear we purchase for our athletes,” according to women’s basketball coach Greg Herrick. “We haven’t been able to invest in certain sportswear for them due to budget cuts such as new basketball bags but we’ve been able to get by with the ones we’ve had for a few years now.” 

Some caches though, including the school’s football defensive coordinator Dan Corbet, have to take on extra responsibilities just to keep their programs afloat. “Since there is not enough funding from states for our schools, coaches must teach more classes to make more money because of budget cuts-which cuts away from more jobs from other teachers,” said Corbet.

“Another drawback from these budget cuts has been no increase in stipends (the extra salary coaches receive for their extra time spent coaching) for about fifteen years,” according to the defensive coordinator.

“Budget cuts and salaries are not related for my department but there has been no raise in coaching salaries for years,” said Herrick.

The effect of this economical disadvantage has helped stimulate a sense of community work, engaging student-athletes with the people and businesses of Santa Clarita. These student athletes go around looking for sponsors, while in return the sponsors name becomes advertised on the playing grounds such as the football field or the gym for basketball games during season.

“We fundraise a lot, such as the first month back from summer break we had the girls go around and raise at least two hundred dollars in sponsors anywhere from twenty five dollars to two hundred dollars….We also participate in game shows as a team where we get paid per show which has financially helped us a lot, we get donations, and we sell banners,” according to Herrick.

“We try our best to fundraise; we sell spirit packs, and we try to get businesses to buy signs to advertise themselves on the field as an effective way to try and raise as much money as we can to help provide our men with proper gear and necessities they need to be successful,” said Corbet.

Making the decisions on how the money is divided amongst each sport and how much each sports program is funded is solely dependent on the athletic director, Chuck Lyon. Although the money funded to each sport is divided, funds such as revenues help run the athletic program by financially creating more stability.

“A schools attempt to cut budgets are usually aimed at the athletic department first which is why the athletic departments are hit the hardest with reduced spending and funding cuts that not only effect us coaches but our teams. We have to find other methods of transportation while managing our financial problems,” said Herrick.

“Our program brings in about a couple thousand dollars each year through revenues, ticket sales, and fundraisers which has helped us drastically to help provide for our athletes transportation, athletic gear, meals, tournament fees, and other expenses.”

However there is a silver lining in recent history, as a slightly upward-trending economy helped create something that hasn’t happened in almost a decade.

“With budget cuts we have had less classes to teach, but after 7 years our department faculty just got a raise,” said Corbet.

Hopefully their next raise in pay doesn’t take another seven years…