By Suanna Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
Kevin Hatcher, Director of Athletics at CSUSB, took time to sit down with the Chronicle and discuss the proposition of bringing a football team to the Coyotes.
The Chronicle’s Oct. 17 featured the article “Coyote Football: something to howl for,” requesting the implementation of a NCAA football team. Hatcher felt it was important to provide information and direction on this issue.
Chronicle: Do you personally want a football team on the CSUSB campus?
Hatcher: As the athletic director at CSUSB, I would of course love to have a football team on our campus. Unfortunately, there are strong barriers to overcome in order to achieve that goal. Not impossible barriers, just significant ones.
C: What can those barriers be defined as?
H: It’s the amount of money it would cost to fund a football program, it’s an expensive sport to run.
Because we are an athletics department committed to gender equality, the amount of money that would get put into a men’s football program would mean we would have to additionally fund the proportionate ratio into our women’s programs.
The other barrier would be after the program is established, who would we play? We are a Division II school, and the next closest team is an 11 hour drive away.
C: Can you explain the gender equality in the athletics department?
H: Because of Title 9 and Cal NOW, we are held to specific standards in our program.
Our scholarships and programs have to be within five percent in participation and awarded scholarships of our student population.
For example, CSUSB’s student body is made of 65 percent women, therefore 60 percent of our student participation and scholarships in the athletic department must be of and to women.
C: Where does the funding for the athletics department come from?
H: Our funding comes from three sources: a general fund, the ASI/IRP and fundraising. ASI is the Associated Students Incorporated and the IRP is the Instructionally Related Programs, its the money that comes from the students.
C: So the money from ASI/IRP is part of the cost of tuition?
H: Exactly, some of the cost of tuition is distributed to run our department.
C: Is the funding for academics and the athletics department evenly distributed?
H: No, they are not equally distributed and rightfully so. Our priority in athletics is to provide our student-athletes with a wonderful experience culminating in graduation. That’s why the student always comes before athlete.
C: Would switching to a Division I School help solve the issue of not having enough local teams to play?
H: It would, in addition it would reduce the costs of travel. However to make that switch all of the teams in our athletics program need to be at the winning caliber of playoff contention.
It’s my job to make that happen and we are well on our way to that level. The problem is, after you’re a Division I school it’s extremely difficult to get accepted into a conference like the Big West, it’s invitation only.
The Big West highly regards academic programs in alliance with the caliber of the athletic program.
C: Where do we go from here?
H: The students should propose action. An interesting approach that they could explore would be to push for expansion of the fields of studies at CSUSB.
The addition of an engineering program would attract more men. The more men on the campus means more evenly the distribution of funds between genders in the athletic program.
Ultimately, the power is in the students hands. You guys have the strongest voice and you make a difference.
C: Say the students take on the task of raising funds for a team on their own and gather private money to fund the start of a program, would that work? More importantly would you support it?
H: That definitely would be a strong and interesting statement made by the student body. Private funding would help reduce the cost demanded by funding from student tuition and CSUSB. It would make the change much easier, I would support that.
After concluding the interview, it was easy to see that Hatcher agrees with the benefits that a football team would bring to CSUSB. More importantly Hatcher shed light on the barriers surrounding that goal and insight to help innovate solutions to reaching it.
If football is to come to CSUSB, it isn’t the sole responsibility of the athletics department, they cannot do it on their own. The outcome of pursuing the CSUSB football opportunity is contingent on student action.