Welcome to "Ask Jim" - Oct. 2, 2013

Ask Jim Response Graphic Welcome to the first installment of "Ask Jim," a new feature here on FullertonTitans.com that allows fans, supporters, and friends of Cal State Fullerton athletics the opportunity to submit questions to Athletic Director Jim Donovan.

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for our first edition! If you wish to submit a question for our next installment, please click here.

Now, without further ado...

David Constatine (La Mirada, Calif.)
Q: As a local and loyal Titan alumni, I would like to know what it would take to resurrect a competitive football program at Cal State Fullerton, the crown jewel of the California State University system.

A: David, thank you for your question. The reality is I do not see us starting up a football program any time in the near future. That’s not to say never, just not in the near future. There are several reasons:

The first, and most significant reason, is funding. I estimate it would cost between $4-5 million annually to start a Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) football program. Now, I think we could generate a fair portion of that amount from direct support for football but, the reality is, because of Title IX we’d have to spend a similar amount on women’s sports and create a similar number of women’s opportunities and scholarships. So, really, we would be looking at an annual funding requirement of $8-10 million a year, and I estimate that we would be able to generate maybe $3-4 million in revenue from football (donations, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, guarantees, etc.), so there would be a funding deficit of at least $4 million a year. Until there was some way to close that projected deficit gap – say a very wealthy donor providing an endowment of $80-$100 million or some other continuous funding mechanism – from a funding standpoint it is hard to start football back up again. Not an impossible dream, just likely “not in the cards” in the near future.

The second most significant reason for Cal State Fullerton to consider whether it should start football again is the sports that we are already competing in. Most of our current programs are not financially supported at the level of many of our Division I peers. While our baseball program has a national reputation of being one of the top five programs in the country, we likely are not top 25 in budget and/or facility. We need to continue to invest in our baseball program if we expect to stay a perennial top five baseball program. As far as scholarships across the board for all of our current sports programs, because of financial constraints we are only providing about 70 percent of the maximum number scholarships allowed by NCAA rules. We need to secure additional funding to move this closer to or at 100 percent funding for scholarships for the programs we have right now – before we add another/more programs. Until we improve our budgets for our current programs, scholarship allocations, and improve some of our facilities, it would be financially irresponsible to add the significant expense of a football program in the near future.

Another reason to wait before attempting to start up Division I FBS football would be the potential changes at the NCAA level being discussed by certain conferences (Big 10, SEC, Big 12, etc.). These changes may make it more or less practical for an institution to consider starting up a football program (again).

While it may be less expensive to start a Division I FCS or Division II football program, in almost every case, the financial revenue from these programs is so significantly lower than a Division I FBS program, that the annual true net cost is higher than starting a Division I program that can/will receive significant sponsorship sales, donor support, away game guarantees and generate home stadium ticket sales. Also, any scholarship aid and “opportunity” provided via football – whether it be Division I (FBS or FCS) or Division II – must be matched in the women’s programs, so the responsibility of complying with Title IX exists at all levels of intercollegiate football. 

I played intercollegiate football, and it would be great to restart football at Cal State Fullerton, but the reality is I do not see us starting up a football program any time in the near future.

Similar football questions asked by Scott Sperber (Fullerton, Calif.) and Robert Menzies (Aliso Viejo, Calif.).

Steven (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
Q: I am a graduate of CSUF and was on the Titan track team. I was wondering if any of the track facilities were going to get redone. For example, the hammer ring needs a new net, shot ring needs new surfacing, javelin runway is all torn up, parts of the track have dips, and the discus ring is so slippery that other teams won't let there athletes throw. So, I was wondering, if any of that would change?

A: Steven, thank you for your question. Currently, the schedule to recondition the Track and Field Complex starts next summer (2014), with completion by December 2016. After consultation with our coaches and campus facilities management, the project scope includes:

• Aluminum Bleachers
• Concrete Curbs for New Runway and Expanded High Jump Areas
• Asphalt Paving for New Runway and Expanded High Jump Areas
• Sandpit for the Long Jump/Triple Jump Runway
• Jump Pad for the Pole Vault Runway
• Supply and Install New Track Surfacing with Line Striping and Distance Marks
• Modify D-Zone Area
• Install Slot Drains
• Sod Infield

Frank Otsuka (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Q: Much discussion on the forum boards regarding the new floor in Titan Gym... What process was made to choose the palm trees and was there any input from outside the athletic department? Many on the board seemed to want some image of Tuffy/elephant(s).

A: Frank, thank you for your question.  Several different designs were considered for the Titan Gym floor in consultation with the CSUF Strategic Communications Office. Eventually, after several weeks of discussion and deliberation the current design was chosen.The “Titans” mark was chosen for center court replacing the “F” logo. Date-type palm trees, which can be found within close proximity to Cal State Fullerton, are now prominently displayed on the court and the San Gabriel Mountains (which can be seen regularly from areas of campus) appear to be in the distance (in the forecourt of the floor.)

The purpose of re-styling the court was to promote Cal State Fullerton, especially during national and regional telecasts -- including eight games of the Wooden Legacy Tournament being telecast from Titan Gym this Thanksgiving weekend.

George Eyles (Brea, Calif.)
Q: When are the basketball facilities going to be brought up to the standards of a competitive Division I program? The softball and baseball facilities have become stagnant and need to continue upgrading, when will this take place? You know as well as I do that to attract the quality scholar/athlete we need quality facilities. When will our athletic teams get more exposure on national television?

A: George, thank you for your questions. As far as facility renovations, they are occurring, but much needs to be done.  It is my perception that during the economic crisis that California endured for the past five years or so, facility maintenance and facility improvements were one of the areas most severely impacted.  

That said, we have made improvements to Titan Gym in the past year or so – providing a much needed paint job, a nice video board and the recently redesigned floor. Also, all the locker rooms in the Titan Gym area have been substantially renovated and we are about 6-8 weeks away from a grand opening of our new Titan Weight Room – about two times larger than our current weight room and much more conveniently located for our student-athletes.  

Other recent renovations include our tennis courts receiving a major makeover – looking as nice as some of the nearby country-club tennis courts.  And the track and field and cross country locker rooms have been completely renovated this summer.

Yes, there is more to do, but a lot has been done in the past year, and more is already scheduled.

As far as national television, our men's basketball team will be on national television during the Wooden Legacy Tournament (three days), as well as other opportunities through ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Pac-12 Network when those agreements are finalized. We will continue to work on getting even more national and regional television exposure for Titan athletics going forward.

Frank Otsuka (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Q: I know that you are probably swamped with questions... But one that I have thought about for a couple of years is: With the need for getting more 'cash' for the department and facilities, has there been any thought of going to local Indian Casinos to contribute to the department or fund new arena? (ala San Diego State and their Viejas Arena) 

A: Frank, thank you for your question. Our sports marketing staff is currently reaching out to various corporations and entities to expand our corporate sponsorship support. Some of their focus is to see if we can garner corporate sponsorship support from some of the nearby casinos.

Daniel Kissick (Whittier, Calif.)
Q: Mr. Donovan I was wondering if it's possible that you can get me a pass for the VIP room for Titan baseball games for this upcoming season?

A: At this time access to the Doubek VIP Room is restricted to box seat holders at Goodwin Field.  We have discussed expanding access to donors at a certain level, but no final decisions have been made at this time. If we do decide to allow donors of a certain level to have access to the Doubek VIP Room this upcoming season, we will announce that on our website and our Director of Development, Greg Paules, will manage the donor access. Please feel free to call Greg at (657) 278-4516 for more information or to make a donation.

John (Riverside, Calif.)
Q: When will baseball schedule be published? Making plans for Omaha & need dates!! C'mon, SEC has posted 2014 schedule!!! 

A: The Titan Baseball schedule is almost complete, and when it is we will post it on our website. I’m told it should be posted by early October. In the meantime, our fall schedule has been released and is available by clicking here. Updates can also be found on Twitter at @BaseballTitans.

All that said, you can go ahead and make plans for Omaha – the dates are: June 14-25, 2014 at TD Ameritrade Park. Hope to see you there!!

Note from Jim:
All the accomplishments, renovations and improvements to Titan Athletic facilities and budget would not be possible without the support of Cal State Fullerton administration, with specific appreciation to President Mildred García.  

Dr. García is a strong believer in the co-curricular educational value of inter-collegiate athletics and she appreciates the CSUF brand exposure and the student and community involvement that Titan Athletics creates.

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