By Chloe Kwock – Cougar News Contributor
As most of us already know, California, is suffering though a huge budget deficit along with the rest of the country. Most colleges have taken significant hits in their expenses affecting many aspects of academics and campus activities. A department that is being severely impacted includes the athletic department, and more specifically the sport of tennis.
Many ranked schools have had the unsettling news of budget cutbacks and in some cases, cutting the teams altogether. Due to a shortage in state funding, schools such as Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Sate Bakersfield, Cal State San Bernandino and many more have removed their men’s and women’s tennis programs.
Cal Poly Pomona has taken a $30 million+ budget cut and this severely affects both the men’s and women’s tennis teams. Some schools around California have been fortunate enough to fund the sport or at least one team. It is seemingly impossible to keep teams that a school cannot finance.
Honestly it does not seem fair to cut from athletics, a department that is very significant to colleges. Cal Poly Pomona’s tennis teams were just informed they were going to eliminate both their women’s and men’s programs and many of the team member’s were very distraught. Michelle Stock, who has been on the Pomona squad for three years, is extremely disappointed that the team she had worked so hard to build was not going to be around for her final year. “When I first found out it was a huge shock. I was both angry and sad. I didn’t understand, why us? Honestly, our school isn’t saving that much by cutting us”, Stock said. Pomona’s team was a competitive team in their conference and it was unbelievable that most were unable to continue in the following year.
In fact, Pomona’s elimination was so impactful it led other schools to follow suit. Isabella Fraczek, one of San Bernardino’s team members stated, “We need $250,000 for our team to continue. A huge reason our team was cut was because Pomona’s team was cut and we no longer had enough teams in our conference. They are only going to honor my scholarship for one more year.”
Fraczek is obviously frustrated and sad for her fellow teammates and that she will be looking into playing competitively at another institution next fall. Stock is also miffed, “Our school didn’t want to make cuts from the other top ten sports because they wanted to have enough funding to support them so they could continue to play competitively”.
This raises the question, what about the players on the tennis teams? They worked just as hard and they are entitled to compete. Would it not make more sense to make equal percentage cuts from every team so that the tennis team could continue to practice and succeed in competitions? By cutting a team you run the risk of future rebuilding years and wasting already valuable players. No, tennis might not bring in as much revenue as other sports such as football or baseball, but it is honestly about the players having an equal opportunity to participate in collegiate athletics.
Yes, schools budgets are suffering affecting every aspect of academic life, but it seems that a fair solution would be to cut equal precentage amounts from every sport so a team would not have to be axed all together. Every athlete deserves a chance to use his or her talents and skills and it is obvious that schools need to make budget cuts somewhere. Clearly it would be extremely difficult for the teams to raise hundreds of thousand of dollars by next season, but if every athletic team equally sacrificed for the budget cuts, the tennis teams would have an equal shot of playing competitively.
The budget cuts occurring in the colleges in California are out of our control but it’s the small sacrifices the school can make equally in other programs to save another.