A university committee formed last spring to study the future path of intercollegiate athletics at Cal State Northridge recommended Friday that the school move from Division II to Division I status in all sports except football.
The recommendation, contained in an 18-page report, was presented to university President James W. Cleary for personal study and dispersal to several advisory boards for feedback.
"The purpose of the report was to come up with a think piece that the president could use at his disposal," said Athletic Director Bob Hiegert, who participated on the six-member Special Committee on Athletics. "This is the first step in terms of getting things into people's hands."
Hiegert said Cleary has indicated that he will make a decision whether to go forward with the recommendation by May. The university must notify the NCAA of its intent by June 1.
In the report, titled Intercollegiate Athletic Program: At the Crossroads, five potential proposals for intercollegiate athletics at CSUN were explored: a reduction in classification, no change at all, augmented Division II status, Division I status except for football and Division I status including football.
With a current enrollment of 30,000 that is projected to reach 40,000 within 10 years, a reduction in classification to the Division III or National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics levels was "effectively a non-choice," the report said.
At the other extreme, upgrading to a program that would be exclusively Division would encounter economic obstacles. Increasing scholarships from a maximum of 45 at Division II to 95 at Division I, coupled with the lack of playing facilities that meet minimum Division I requirements for seating capacity and revenue potential, made upgrading all sports to Division I for all sports financially unfeasible.
The committee opted for Division I except for football based on several factors. They included: projected growth in enrollment, present difficulty in regular-season scheduling of local opponents, opportunities for greater revenue potential and opportunities for increased local and national exposure. "No other available alternative is more viable or attractive," the report said.
Friday's report follows the mailing of almost 900 questionnaires to businesses, service clubs and chambers of commerce in the Valley to gain feedback concerning future support of Northridge athletics.
The committee was chaired by Edmund Peckham, university vice-president of student affairs. It included Hiegert; Associate Athletic Director Judy Brame; Len Glass, the dean of the school of Communications and Professional Services; and Sam Winningham, chairman of the university's Kinesiology and Physical Education department.