Athletes take a hit in budget crisis

The budget crisis has affected every part of the Guilford campus and raised concerns for the future of programs such as the Bonner Scholars program and the Wellness Education Center, but we have yet to hear about the effects on Guilford athletics.

“I think we’re all on a lot tighter budget than we used to be, which puts us in position where we have to cut some of our equipment and we had to make some sacrifices that made us have a less productive season,” said senior tennis player Blake Brown. “Everyone’s experiencing this, so you just have to learn to work with what you’ve got, but the cuts are definitely noticeable.”

Teams have had difficulties in raising money for uniforms.

“We still need to buy uniforms for the first-year players, but otherwise we’ve had to recycle old uniforms,” said senior tennis player Turner Votipka. “A lot of teams are cutting back on what they are spending and running fund-raising campaigns.”

For example, the lacrosse and football teams repeatedly utilize fundraising campaigns.

“We’ve had to finance ourselves the whole time, so we’ve done fundraisers to get our gear like sweats, helmets, and gloves,” said senior lacrosse player Nick Huckins. “We’ve been lucky actually, because of an alumni donation from a former lacrosse player at Guilford for $100,000.

“We can’t use it all at once because it’s an endowment, but it’s been helpful to have a little extra for travel expenses. We haven’t really felt the budget cuts as much because we’ve always had to raise money for ourselves and the endowment helps.”

Students in the athletics department seem to be accepting of the cuts, as much as they regret the effects on the programs.

“It’s hard to be as successful as we want to be without that monetary backing, but I think at Guilford they do a really good job of making a statement of not throwing all of their money into athletics if that’s not something the entire student body wants,” said senior lacrosse player Sam Cole. “We get by and we have the things we need.”

Some students argue, however, that some teams could cut back more.

“I know it’s one of the areas that can afford to have the budget trimmed a little and some of the teams have to pay for their own equipment,” said sophomore tennis player Nora Prokosch. “I think the smaller teams are more likely to get their budgets cut and suffer more than the larger teams do if they incur cuts.

“I think sports in general are an important source of morale for the college, but I think we could afford a reduced budget in some places.”

The majority of teams rely on similar fundraising methods to pay for non-conference game travel and general travel expenses, as well as for uniforms.

While resources are somewhat stretched at the Guilford athletic department, there seems to be limited danger of the program cuts which threaten the rest of the college. However, the future of the department will be more clearly detailed when the fall annual board of trustees meeting begins on Oct. 8, when the budget for the college is finalized for the 2015-2016 school year.