Every modern president of the U.S. has heartily approved of athletics in public high schools because it helps kids come to school, stay in school, graduate and go on to college. Millions of kids have turned into good citizens. That's why the billions of dollars spent are praised, even by taxpayers, as a brilliant investment in American creativity.
Therefore, it is important to stop presidents of tax-supported colleges and universities from killing sports without first considering the suffering it causes young people, coaches and their families.
Athletics are just as important as math, history, anatomy, sociology and Shakespeare, because with out the fun, friendships and self-discipline obtained through team sports, academic subjects would never be learned by millions of kids.
The Cal State Northridge Task Force on Athletics, with help from student-athletes, coaches, faculty, alumni and members of the community, just worked for nine long, hard weeks to gather information to help CSUN administrators bring justice, fairness and success to students through athletics.
There was a student rally and a public forum along the way. Athletes, present and past, told heart-breaking stories of how athletics helped them succeed in school and life. All the meetings were an invaluable learning experience.
But CSUN president Blenda Wilson did not attend a meeting. She missed essential personal testimony that needs to be heard if justice is to be served. Thus, the president should hold at least two public forums that she can attend before making final decisions that will affect the lives of thousands of students now and in the future.
Now, as to the task force's preliminary recommendation that the athletic budget be reduced by $400,000: Why should male and female students be penalized because CSUN's administration is blowing $400,000 each week by not having a fund-raiser?
Dr. Barry Munitz, chancellor of the CSU system, suggested several years ago that each campus have a fund-raiser. Twenty of the 23 CSU schools have complied.
San Diego State, Long Beach State and Fresno State each raised between $18 million and $28.5 million last year.
Assuming CSUN might have raised $20 million in the past year, that's a loss of about $400,000 per week--one week of work that would solve at least some of the problems faced by the CSUN athletic program.