January 11, 2013
I hope all of you had a great holiday season and were able to spend quality time with friends, family and all of the people that are important in your lives. Each year brings with it a sense of hope for better things to come, and that goes without saying here in Cullowhee. I begin my second year here, at Western Carolina University, with a better foundation in my understanding of the athletic program – where we have been, where we are and where we hope to go. I hope all of you are excited about sharing the journey with us. Now to the mailbag:
I would like to know why Western doesn’t have a Men’s Soccer team. It seems unfair to have a women’s program but not one for the Men. Is it a money issue? First and foremost, yes, it is 100 percent a money issue. We currently do not fully fund the sixteen sport teams we currently sponsor, and until we reach a level where every team we have can compete within the Southern Conference year in and year out, we will not look at adding any programs. Beyond finances, we must also be aware of and adhere to Title IX standards. As for being fair, Title IX looks at the number of total participants (total number of men versus total number of women in all sports), it does not compare within a sport. So in the eyes of the law, this is fair.
Over the years I have continuously heard about upgrading football. All I seem to hear is football this and football that, what about upgrading the other teams, especially those that win championships, like track? Good question, difficult answer. The bottom line is football can pay the bills, track can not. We will make strides in upgrading all of our programs eventually, but football must be first. Let me ask you a question: Do you buy stocks that generate large returns or ones that give little or no returns? There is your answer.
Have any of the coaches said we were losing recruits due to the size and condition of our strength and conditioning area? I cannot say I have heard that directly, but to be honest, I would be a fool to think it wasn’t true. Our weight room is just one of many facility areas we need to address. During this academic year we are in the process of researching and preparing a Strategic Plan for the Athletic Department. I fully anticipate when we are completed, we will have a road map for investment in facilities, scholarships, operating budgets and staffing. Until we have a plan, we will not rush out and spend what limited resources we have available.
Why are General Admission tickets more expensive this year than last year for Men’s Basketball? Quite simply, we had some catching up to do. Not one person currently on our staff can remember a price increase, add to that we were the lowest in the entire Southern Conference. Yes, going from $7 to $10 was a large percentage jump, but in actuality we were simply catching up on increases that should have been made over the last several years.
That’s all for this month. I hope you enjoy reading my responses as much as I enjoy writing them. A lot of good questions this month and the one commonality is that all of the above issues can be improved if we have more money! That means YOU need to be involved. Get your family, friends and classmates re-energized. It is quite difficult to assist us in restoring Western Carolina to its’ past glory, it is quite easy to sit back and complain.