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49er Teams Appear Safe From Next Round of Budget Cuts

May 13, 1993|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — For the first time in recent years, Cal State Long Beach seems prepared to weather a round of state budget cuts without severely scaling back its athletic program or cutting funds for individual teams.

Officials estimated that the 49er athletic program will have to absorb a $139,000 cut in funding, or 7.5% of the department's total budget, in 1993-94.

The largest portion of the anticipated cut, according to acting Athletic Director Dave O'Brien, has already been accomplished through layoffs, transfers and resignations that took place over the course of this fiscal year. Those positions could have been on the chopping block in the upcoming fiscal budget had they been filled, O'Brien said.

In the past 18 months, more than two dozen employees have left the department and most of the positions have not been filled.

The 49ers also hope to step up fund-raising efforts. Among other things, Long Beach hopes to use donations, rather than state funds, to pay $28,500 annual dues to the Big West Conference.

The university also hopes to buy out the final year of former football Coach Willie Brown's $76,000-a-year contract at a lower amount, officials said. Long Beach dropped football, which carried a $1.2-million price tag in December, 1991.

After university officials announced plans to drop football, private donations tumbled to about half of the record $450,000 raised three years ago.

The financial outlook at other schools, including Big West rival Cal State Fullerton, is not so rosy. Officials at Fullerton are anticipating cuts of about $200,000, in addition to $1.2 million in savings from suspending the football program at the end of the 1992 season.

Athletes are more likely to feel the cuts at Fullerton because the operating budgets of each team will be reduced. The men's basketball team, for example, could have a budget cut of about $45,000, officials said.

At Cal State Long Beach, there will be no cuts in individual team budgets, O'Brien said.

Fullerton coaches have complained that their programs will be at a disadvantage against other Big West teams because of cuts in funds for player scholarships and recruiting trips by coaches.

Long Beach would like to bring football back eventually, and has discussed joining a conference with Fullerton and other schools if costs can be kept low. But football will not be restored at the expense of other sports, officials said.

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