On deck: The gameplan for CSUB athletics financial comeback

Brian Melgar, Sports Reporter

  CSU Bakersfield’s campus has seen dramatic and unprecedented changes since COVID-19 began spreading throughout the country. The campus was shut down, classes transitioned to online learning, and spring sports were shut down. 

  On the current financial situation of the athletics department in the wake of the shutdown, Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried, Athletics Director for CSUB, said, “For us, in the athletics department, I’d be naïve to say that we didn’t have some losses. We’ve lost revenue from ticket sales, NCAA distributions, facility revenue and event revenue. The amount of dollars we’ve lost has been substantial.” Ziggy did not have hard numbers available. 

  Karen Langston, Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs & Capital Projects, echoed these sentiments, saying, “Anytime we have a reduction in revenue, it presents challenges,” said Karen Langston, Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs & Capital Projects, echoing these sentiments.  

  The CSUB athletics department has had to get creative in order to keep their department afloat and continue providing for their athletes, but the options have been minimal with the current stay-at-home order in place. Cindy Goodmon, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal & Business Operations, said, “Our only hope at this point is to get out and fundraise those differences.” 

  Another strategy being used by the CSUB athletics department, according to Siegfried, Langston and Goodmon, is to spread awareness of their situation via social media. This includes having a positive message and reminding everyone that the financial side of the athletics department is not simply for funding sporting events and acquiring gear for their athletes, they are in charge of paying for their athletes to attend school. By reminding people that their department pays the tuition fees for hundreds of students to continue their education, they’re hoping that the public will listen to the needs of the students and contribute to fundraisers.  

  Though the athletics department is working diligently to prevent the worst-case scenario, Langston says that they do not know the full financial impact at this time. This doesn’t mean that the staff aren’t doing everything in their power to mitigate losses, however. 

  “We basically put a stop on any spending from individuals in the athletics department,” Siegfried said. 

  Goodmon agreed, saying, “We’re working on controlling our expenditures and what savings we can do.” 

  While the staff works as hard as they can to keep the athletics department going strong, there is a heartwarming side to this pandemic and its effects on student life. Siegfried, Goodmon and Langston all have said that many of the ticket holders for future CSUB sporting events have chosen to donate that money to the athletics scholarship fund in lieu of receiving a refund for their tickets. Siegfried said that the athletics department was set to refund somewhere in the range of $50,000 to $60,000 in tickets, but much of it was donated instead.  

  “We are very fortunate in that,” Langston said of ticketholders choosing to donate.  

  In this very difficult time, it important to have something to look forward to at the end of the tunnel, and the athletics department is aware of that. College sports are a major part of student life, and having them to look forward to helps students to feel more connected to their campus.  

  “It’s important to keep athletics alive and well, not only for our athletes, but for our entire student body as well,” Goodmon said. “It’s important to serve the students.”