Valley Loses its track & field program, due to the $5,5 million deficit.
By Jorge Belon and Jordan Utley- Thomson, Staff Writers
In a budget-saving move, Valley College cut its track program in order to narrow the gap of a $5.5 million shortfall and th are more cuts to come.
Valley has had a budget problem for more than 10 years and administrators have made the decision to eliminate classes, part-time faculty, tutors and a $75,000 cut to the athletic program, which includes eliminating track & field and possibly cross country.
“This was not supposed to happen…there were talks of the deficit and budgets, but [the Sports Department] never thought it could happen,” said the Los Angeles Valley College Athletic Director Jim Fenwick. “We would always find a way to endure, but everyone on campus has been asked to make sacrifices…one of the last things [Valley College] would want to do is drop a sport, but with the current circumstances we had to.”
According to Fenwick, track and field has been running strong since 1950. Valley has had a successful program for 63-years.Four athletes placed in the top ten in the nation in the 2012-2013 season. Additionally, the program produced an IAAF World Junior Championship title winner, pole vault athlete Kyle Ballew in 2010.
“We have had history of dropping track and field programs before, cross country was dropped back in 1994,” Fenwick said. “We brought it back in 1998, so there is still hope that we will bring back the track and field program.”
Athletes are now faced with the dilemma of staying at Valley or leaving in order to compete. Athletic officials say eliminating those sports could result in the loss of around 60 students.
“We weren’t over budget,” said pole vault coach Brooks Morris. “We weren’t contribut-ing as much as everybody else was to the $5.5 million deficit. Why should we take the hit so damn hard?”
“It was the people up top. [Although], there’s other places down low that have been hemorrhaging cash,” Morris said.
Morris added that other programs were running at a deficit and they should have been cut, not track & field.
“Most of our track and field athletes are transferring out,” Fenwick said. “So that means 40-50 students who could have been full time students are gone…we are losing money in that sense. But in the end, we all have to work together to get out of this deficit, we all have to sacrifice.”
For those athletes who wish to continue their education at Valley, they have a chance to join the teams at West Los Angeles College.
“It’s ridiculous,” said freshman pole-vaulter MaKenna Powell. “I only came here to pole vault and now I can’t even do that.”
Part of the cuts include closing the new track facility in Monarch Stadium. It will be closed to athletes students and the community due to the cost to keep it open.
“We definitely want to bring back our prestigious track & field program back to Val-ley,” Fenwick said, “But for the moment, we are just going have to do without it.”