The football program at Cal State Long Beach may be dropped in order to solve a fiscal deficit being run up by the school's athletic department, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported Thursday.
The school's president, Stephen Horn, has ordered the community to raise $300,000 by the end of the year or the football program will be dropped, the paper said.
Horn said if the initial figure was raised, another $500,000 would have to be raised by next June for the program to be continued.
If the football program were to be dropped, the university would save $1 million annually after players and coaches were relocated, the paper reported.
Horn made the announcement Tuesday at an emotional four-hour meeting, described as a "donnybrook" by an unidentified participant, set up to let representatives of the community and the school's academia know the proposal was being considered.
"I told them that I had before me the most difficult decision . . . in my 17 years here, and I did not intend to make that decision without input from the people who had been with us through thick and thin," Horn said.
According to the paper, the Cal State Long Beach athletic department has a deficit of $719,000, and it will grow to more than $1 million by June, 1987. The school's athletic budget is about $4 million annually.
The issue behind the possible decision is the $700,000 needed annually to pay for athletic grants-in-aid. That money comes from three sources: game receipts, game guarantees and community contributions.
Each grant-in-aid at Long Beach State is valued at about $4,800 for in-state students, $8,000 for out-of-state students.
"And the current level of contributions and the current level of attendance is simply insufficient to fund our current level of grants-in-aid," Horn said.
The paper said that four years ago, Horn announced he would approve an increase in the number of football grants-in-aid from 55 to 85 "if the community would support the increase."
The extra grants were handed out even though the extra money needed was never received.