Artigues talks Grambling, athletic budget cuts
Director of Athletics at Southeastern Jay Artigues has reflected on the situation at Grambling and believes that it would never occur on Southeastern’s Campus. Artigues said that maintaining athletic facilities is crucial to attracting high-class athletes to Southeastern and that self-generated revenue ensures that funds continue to flow into athletics. Christopher Martin
After the Grambling State University controversy, where the university's football team essentially revolted against athletic department budget cuts, questions arose throughout national media outlets as to whether state athletic departments in whole could crumble from financial cuts.
Newly named Athletic Director Jay Artigues says the forfeiting of a game, as Grambling State's football team did against Jackson State University under the context that bus trips were too long and that there was lack of food while on the road, would never occur at Southeastern.
"Obviously, we can't control what happens here at Southeastern, but we would never forfeit," said Artigues. "That would never happen. We'd make every effort to make sure that didn't happen."
Artigues said he could not elaborate on the details of how Grambling State manages its finances, but a review of Grambling's budget and the university's confirms drastic differences in the way funds are managed.
For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Grambling State's overall budget was approximately $15 million. This is less than half of Southeastern's overall budget for the same fiscal year, which was approximately $37.2 million.
As Sports Illustrated outlines, overall state funding for Grambling State, which is in the same university system as Southeastern, has dropped from $31.6 million to $13.8 million since the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Southeastern, though, is no stranger to state cuts with roughly $7.7 million being cut from the university's budget just this fiscal year.
But this is where similarities between the universities stop.
According to athletic department budget details for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Grambling State's Athletic Department ran a deficit of between approximately $1.2 million and $1.8 million.
Grambling State budgeted for revenue numbers to be at roughly $6.5 million, with the football team generating $2.4 million of that amount. However, the Grambling State athletic department's actual revenues totaled roughly $5.5 million and the football team only generated $1.3 million.
This large of a shortfall in athletic department support has not seen the light of day at Southeastern athletics.
In fiscal year 2012-2013, the university's athletic department budgeted for approximately $7.7 million in revenues. At the end of that fiscal year, the athletic department generated $7.5 million, an only $200,000 shortfall.
This small gap, according to Artigues, is mainly because the university's athletic department has looked to outside sources for revenue, making up for the amounts lost in state budget cuts.
"Because of that, we have to find resources outside of state funding, through the Lion's Athletics Association, through donations and that's what we've done," said Artigues. "We've done a good job of raising those external funds, which are completely separate from the state, through donations and fundraisers to help offset those cuts."
Artigues said he did not have an exact amount of how much the athletic department has garnered through outside sources, but he said the amount continues to grow.
"I don't have an exact percentage, but every year it grows," said Artigues. "Every year that we get cut, we have to make sure because you have a lot of fixed incomes in athletics with the travel and recruiting. So you have to make sure that you're able to meet those needs. We stretch our dollar as far as a dollar can be stretched. I don't think there is any question about that whatsoever."
Artigues said during his tenure as head baseball coach, he took the budget he was given and made sure the lost funds were made up in order to protect student athletes from budget cuts.
"I don't want our student athletes to ever feel budget cuts, and if we do our job as coaches and administrators then our student athletes won't feel those cuts," said Artigues. "That may mean that we need to get out and raise more money, fundraising wise, and that's what we have to do because it's either that or making our programs suffer. And we won't let our programs suffer."
But athletic facilities prove to be an issue for all state university athletic programs. The Grambling State football team claimed the conditions of their athletic facilities were poor.
While no Southeastern athletic team has protested against the conditions of the university's facilities, Artigues said the upgrading is a constant issue every fiscal year.
"It's an ongoing battle. Facility-wise, it's an arms race out there when you're talking about recruits," said Artigues. "ESPN did a study on athletes and 80 percent of them picked their college choice based on facilities. And because of that, we know we have to always try and continue to upgrade our facilities."
Artigues said the athletic department is working on bringing restroom facilities and a scoreboard to the track and field and also plans on making upgrades to the softball field and bleachers.
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