Finding the funds

When the university cuts back, the Bulldog Athletic Association rises up

Top Taggart Field has sat empty this fall with the suspension of GLIAC sports at the beginning of the semester. Photo by: Cassidy Jessup | Torch Photographer

Many universities across the nation have had to cut back funding due to the financial implications of COVID-19, especially since big-ticket sports seasons such as football and basketball were postponed.

This year, the Ferris board of trustees budgeted a mere 2.6% of the 2021 approved budget for athletics. This percentage amounts to $4,759,230 to be spent on athletic needs such as recruitment, scholarship dollars, event function, facilities and staffing. Although athletic competition has not been taking place, plans for the future are being made. 

In June, the board of trustees announced they were planning to cut 10% of the university’s budget this year and part of that cut affected athletic funding. All students were affected by this budget cut because of the higher tuition rates. These rates were 2.78% higher for underclassmen and approximately 3.98% for upperclassmen. 

Fund generation is vital in funding for athletic scholarships as well as marketing, two very big components to athletic funding.

“Although we have a lot more time since athletics are not happening, it has been difficult to show stewards what they could be potentially funding,” Kevin Bunce the Bulldog Athletic Advancement Officer said. 

Since there is a deficit in funding from the university, external sources of funding from beneficiaries to the university are even more important.

“We have some very loyal donors who give gifts of thousands to help our university function,” Bunce said. 

Efforts from the Bulldog Athletic Association have continued throughout the year in preparation for sports to start again. Since the recent GLIAC decision to give the green light on competitions, these preparations have become more relevant.

“It definitely has been difficult but once we start having safe competition in an efficient manner, I am hopeful,” Bunce said. 

According to Bunce, once basketball and hockey are up and running, there will be an influx of funds from ticket sales and sponsors who will be able to watch players compete again.

The Athletic Association has an annual fundraiser which also brings in revenue to keep these teams supported. This year, the fundraiser will still be taking place but will be formatted differently than years prior. Bulldog Athletic Association Coordinator, Jake Daugherty, gave insight on the donation patterns.

“Parents, alumni and friends all want to support athletes,” Jake Daugherty said. “They frequently give smaller donations.”

Daugherty works with the Bulldog Athletic Association organizing corporate sales and sponsorship. 

During a time when money is tight because of the pandemic, the athletic department must pull together funds to prepare for a nearing competition season. Ferris State Athletics have a powerful group of individuals at the Bulldog Athletic Association doing everything they can to help things run smoothly.