How the Economy is Affecting College Softball
The harsh reality of the current economic climate is that college administration must find ways to cut costs somewhere. Just like the family discussions happening at kitchen tables in homes across the country, colleges must sit down and discuss how they can meet their budgets without giving up too much of what makes their programs successful. Unfortunately for college athletes, sometimes the corners that have to be cut in order for colleges and universities to survive involve athletic departments.
Compare college expenses to your own budget. When you need to trim down your expenses, what is the first thing that usually goes? Probably something you deem as ‘extra’ – maybe a cable package that includes premium channels, maybe an internet connection, or maybe you decide to make your own coffee each morning rather than pick one up on the way to work. Budgets in college administrations work in much the same way. And while many schools view athletics as an important part of their student experience, others view them as not being an essential part of the organization.
For some college softball programs, the budget cuts are minimal. One school found that not printing media guides for their team saved them several thousand dollars. Not only was this a major help to their budget, it was also a very ‘green’ solution. They may try to save money by stretching out their equipment more than they might under normal circumstances. This might involve not replacing the pads the catchers wear or bats and batting helmets as frequently, opting instead to use the equipment until it begins to wear out.
Travel is also an area where softball programs can cut some corners. They may choose to drive more rather than pay for flights for an entire team and staff. Or they may choose to travel with less staff altogether.
In other programs, the cuts are more major. Salaries and scholarships take up a major part of a school’s budget and it is tough for schools to cut scholarships completely. They may opt to not give as many full boats as they would under normal circumstances, but there will still have to be scholarship money to attract students. Salaries and benefits for softball team personnel can take a major hit. Coaches, trainers, all may have to take pay cuts or give up certain benefits if the athletic programs are to survive.