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Priority Given to Sports in Big Sky : Athletics: CSUN panel will call for budget cuts without eliminating nonconference programs.


NORTHRIDGE — The task force created to study Cal State Northridge's move into the Big Sky Conference will suggest the school maintain all its current sports but tighten the budgets of those not covered by the Big Sky umbrella, sources said.

The group, composed of administrators, faculty, students and athletes, devised its preliminary proposal at its weekly meeting Wednesday.

The plan will be released either Friday or Monday. A public forum is scheduled for next Wednesday.

The task force's final proposal is due to be presented to Ron Kopita, Northridge vice president for student affairs, on Nov. 22.

The dilemma the task force was created to solve is this: How can Northridge meet the Big Sky's requirements--tripling the number of football scholarships and adding women's golf and men's tennis--given the current budgetary constraints?

Northridge Athletic Director Paul Bubb has said Northridge's current 19 sports have a budget of about $4.3 million. The necessary Big Sky additions will cost about $600,000 more.

Another problem involves adding more than 40 football scholarships while meeting gender-equity regulations that mandate men's and women's sports be funded in roughly equal amounts.

Still, the panel will not call for the elimination of any programs.

"[The proposal] is to keep the 21 sports," a task force member said. "Some of them will have to find other funds to stay alive if they are not in the Big Sky."

Another task force member said the proposal includes some specific ways to save money within the current sports offering, but he would not elaborate.

Northridge was invited last month to join the Big Sky, beginning next fall. The school must meet the conference's requirements within three years.

Programs offered at Northridge that are not among the required Big Sky sports are baseball, men's volleyball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's soccer, softball and men's golf.

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