Every third Thursday of each month, Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear will post a new blog entry directed towards Vandal fans. Dr. Spear will use these monthly communiqués to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal..
An archive of previous blog entries can be accessed here.
Cost containment is the theme across the country as Athletic Conferences and Athletic Departments attempt to balance their operating budgets. Conferences have drafted legislative proposals, eliminated media days, reduced and/or eliminated conference tournaments, shifted future meeting locations, and reduced travel squad sizes. Individual institutions are reducing travel, eliminating positions and developing regionally focused scheduling philosophies for all their athletic teams.
Some interesting pieces of proposed legislation are starting to appear that include: eliminating the ability for institutions to provide housing at on- or off-campus locations, such as a hotel, the night before a home regular season contest in all sports unless the competition site is more than 25 miles from its campus; eliminating printed media guides, recruiting brochures or any sport-specific publications; and eliminating institutional and conference foreign tours in all sports. One conference is even proposing eliminating competition in the NCAA Track & Field Championships.
At its annual meeting earlier this month, the Western Athletic Conference Board of Directors approved several cost containment measures for 2009-10. Women's volleyball, men's tennis, women's tennis, softball, baseball and soccer all will be six-team championships. The men's and women's basketball championship will include eight teams rather than the existing nine teams. The Board also endorsed freezing officiating fees at the 2008-09 levels in all sports. Internally, the conference reduced its operating budget by more than five percent for 2009-10, which includes moving several printed media guides and other materials online, eliminating the in-person basketball media day, shifting the location of several conference meetings along with moving many committee calls to teleconferences, and eliminating a full-time intern position. There will be no salary or benefit increases for conference office staff.
Unlike some conferences the WAC still will conduct football media days July 28-30. However, across the country many conferences are not going to bring in coaches and top players to answer questions from reporters. The Ohio Valley Conference, the Big Sky Conference and the Southern Conference are leagues which have decided to cut media day for cost-saving reasons. Even some Football Bowl Subdivision conferences are cutting back to save money. The Sun Belt Conference announced its annual trip to New Orleans will be replaced by a video conference with coaches and players. Conference USA also will use a video teleconference to make coaches and selected players available.
At the University of Idaho we are focused on cost containment, but we are equally focused on revenue enhancement. Supporting the Vandal Scholarship Fund is an important fund source for our athletic program and one that we must grow. So please make your annual contribution by June 30!