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Letter to the editor: Stop blaming Schulz for budget deficit

RUSS SALVADALENARUSS | Pullman

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It is totally understandable that programs affected by budget cuts will express concern, displeasure and disagreement. Offering differing viewpoints and suggesting alternative solutions is good discourse, and ideally leads to the best decisions. The huge drop in state funding in the early 2000’s affected all areas of the university, not just “the arts.” This was the beginning of our current financial predicament.

The recent huge deficits in the Athletic Department make the football program an easy target to blame for the program cuts being made now. Football can be viewed as an unnecessary distraction and siphoning funds away from academics. However, football is an essential part of the university’s budget, fundraising, branding and public face. Football may be the only sport that pays its own way. All of the other sports rely on football revenue to cover their budgets.

A successful football program can generate much more revenue than a mediocre one. Late WSU President Elson Floyd understood this. Unfortunately, the Pac-12 TV revenue has fallen short of projections, and the gamble that Floyd and former Athletic Director Bill Moos took with construction projects has resulted in a financial shortfall that WSU President Kirk Schulz must now deal with.

Even though universities don’t have the same priorities that for-profit businesses have, financial issues need to be dealt with in similar ways. It seems inevitable that program cuts must be made. Blaming Schulz for dealing with problems he inherited seems unproductive. To those who view football as the root of all evil and advocate its elimination, it does not make financial sense.

I encourage our community members to provide feedback and feasible solutions to the financial bind WSU is in. As a taxpayer, finding cost-effective ways to operate a distinguished university (and successful football team) is what I expect from our state employees.

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Letter to the editor: Stop blaming Schulz for budget deficit