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Layoffs Endanger Junior College Athletics

June 28, 1986|DAVID MORGAN

During the past school year, much of the news in community college athletics was made away from the playing fields in the high-rise business offices of the Los Angeles Community College District's Board of Trustees.

Despite projections of a budget surplus and a staff report showing that intercollegiate athletic programs generate a $1.5-million profit for the district, the board initiated the layoffs of 157 full-time teachers, including 39 in physical education, in February as part of an "educational restructuring."

In March, amid other evidence that layoffs were not a financial necessity, the board went ahead with its plans.

On Monday, 42 full-time instructors, including at least seven in physical education, will be laid off. In addition, 23 part-time coaches will be fired in accordance with the faculty contract.

In authorizing the cutbacks in faculty and staff, the board emphasized that over-staffing in physical education--not its intercollegiate athletic programs--was the intended target.

Athletics, however, will not escape the effects of the cuts. As many as 40 of the 76 teams fielded last year may be eliminated in the 1986-1987 year.

Already, 15 teams at Los Angeles schools have been eliminated by the Southern California Conference because those schools could not guarantee that they would field teams next year. More than 20 other teams have until Sept. 22 to make a commitment, or they, too, will be eliminated. In addition, the football and men's basketball programs at Pierce College were cut by school President David Wolf.

Overall, athletic directors estimate the cuts could deny opportunities to compete for nearly half of the district's estimated 2,000 student-athletes.

Considering that each athlete brings the district $2,699 in state funding for enrollment, the district's losses could be significant.

"We are dealing a mortal blow to our interscholastic sports teams," wrote Harold Garvin, the lone member of the board who voted against layoffs, in an opinion story that appeared in The Times. "We have made an enormous, terrible mistake, and should reconsider the whole decision."

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