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CS Long Beach Will Continue Football in '1988 and Beyond'

October 20, 1987|DICK WAGNER

The Cal State Long Beach football program, which was in jeopardy last December because of financial troubles, will continue "in 1988 and beyond," university officials announced Monday.

"Together, the university and the community have solved the problem," President Stephen Horn said at a news conference.

Horn said that of the $500,000 needed by next July 1 to pay for scholarships and keep football alive, $337,324 has been assured in community donations, ticket sales and excess revenues.

"This leads us to (expect) that the goal will be met," Horn said.

Long Beach almost dropped football last December but a frantic drive that raised $300,000 enabled it to continue this season.

Horn also said Monday that there will be a five-year plan for the athletic department.

Such a long-range commitment is what the school's boosters have long sought from the administration. Boosters claimed last spring that Horn lied to them about wanting high-quality teams.

"Our goal is to field a nationally competitive athletic program," Horn said Monday. "Football is showing tremendous promise under first-year Coach Larry Reisbig."

Horn said he decided to make the announcement after talking with potential football recruits at last Saturday's 49er-New Mexico State game.

He accused coaches of other teams of undercutting Long Beach recruiting efforts by showing clippings on the 49ers' financial problems to prospective players.

"We have been disturbed that rival coaches have mentioned the publicity given to last year's athletic deficit but have not mentioned their own," Horn said. "The fact is that many Division I-A football and athletic programs have had deficits because of changing costs. Long Beach is one of the few campuses which has brought this matter into the open and faced up to the challenge."

Horn said he is also enthused by the 49ers' winning record this season and Saturday's homecoming crowd of 6,919.

Long Beach is 4-3, but two of the victories were against Division I-AA teams and the other two were against University of the Pacific and New Mexico State, which have three victories between them.

And despite the increase in season ticket sales, the 49ers are averaging only 5,391 in home attendance, compared with 6,351 last season.

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