The Third Installment of "Ask Jim" - June 10, 2014

First of all, I’d like to apologize for the “unplanned hiatus” of Ask Jim during the spring. Things just got busy with working to get the Student Success Initiative passed – maybe the single most impactful financial action to occur for Titan Athletics since the University was approved in 1957 – and several other issues that required a lot of time. That said, I will work to get back on track answering the Ask Jim questions – aiming to answer questions every other month. So, here goes:


From Frank Otsuka (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Q: Now that the baseball season is finished, what types of improvements can we look forward to for next year? I am interested in what facilities are in line for renovation... I read where there will be an influx of funds coming in from the new student success fees, will this be available for this coming year?


A: Frank, thanks for asking a question that I know many other Titan Supporters are curious about!  

Let me provide a little background first. This past spring the University conducted a consultative process on a Student Success Imitative (SSI). As approved by the Student Fee Committee, President García and CSU Chancellor White, it includes $60 annually, per student, for athletic facilities. The amount will be phased in over a three-year period, starting in the 2014-2015 academic year.


To date our coaching staffs and facility and event managers have developed a list of potential facility projects and improvements. Within the next few weeks a sub-committee of coaches and administrators will meet to prioritize the potential facility projects and improvements. Then, in the early fall, we will make a presentation to the Student Fee Committee explaining our methodology and plans for the funding. After that, we plan to start implementing the plan – realizing that it may take a decade or more to complete the entire list of projects.


Some of the projects that our coaches and facility and event managers have designated – and this is only a small sample – include (non-prioritized):


  • Locker room improvements for several sports
  • New video/score board for Titan Stadium (Soccer stadium)
  • Renovations to the entrance/foyer to Titan Gym
  • Lighting improvements to  meet high-definition television standards for fields, stadiums and courts
  • Removal of poles holding backstop net at Goodwin Field
  • Concession stand improvements 
  • Renovations of public bathrooms 

Again, these are just some of the projects being considered and ultimately prioritized.


And it’s very important to note, that Titan Athletics made a commitment to the student leadership during the SSI approval process, that lighting the grass fields (next to Titan House and north of Titan Gym) would be a very high priority project. This project will be very impactful on the students actually paying the fee, because the grass fields are utilized by the student body, club sports, and KLS classes. 


Lastly, we will be exploring the financing possibilities that could enable us to pursue more renovations and improvements in the near-term while spreading payments out over several years.


We will provide more information in future columns regarding facility projects being conducted because of the SSI fee, after the project prioritization is complete and the plan has been presented to the Student Fee Committee in the fall of 2014. 


From Jose Galindo (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
How do Title IX laws apply at schools with non-scholarship FCS football, for example the University of San Diego? For those still dreaming of football like myself, can't this be a more attainable option?


A: Jose, thanks for asking a question that I’m sure others think about too. The reality is Title IX laws apply for any entity receiving federal funds – whether it’s a high school district, a junior college, a Division I program, or as you ask about in your question, a FCS football (previously known as Div I-AA) athletic program.


At the FCS level, a football program can provide 65 scholarships. So, if an institution started (or re-instituted) a FCS football program, it would need to start a corresponding number of women’s sports programs that would provide 65 scholarships for women. With In-State scholarships costing more than $20,000 each, the scholarship cost alone would be in excess of $2.6 million. Then you’d have to add coaching salaries, supplies, uniforms, recruiting, support staff (additional trainers, academic staff and equipment staff at a minimum) and a travel budget. Adding all these, for FCS football and likely three women’s programs would conservatively be another $2-$3 million.

And, as I stated in my October 2nd Ask Jim, another reason to wait before attempting to start up football – at the FCS or FBS level – 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 (or re-instituting one) – particularly if there are changes to current revenue streams and/or new restrictions added that might make an FCS or FBS program less attractive as an option.

Bottom line is, whether we compete at the FBS or FCS level for football, we would need a dedicated revenue stream that would create approximately $5-$6 million a year. That would mean an endowment of $100-$120 million, or some other permanent revenue stream to cover the expenses of the football program and the likely three women’s sports that would also have to be started to comply with Title IX.


From James Witherspoon (Brea, Calif.)
Do you plan on turning the track and field program into a very competitive one? 


A: James, the short answer is yes!


The reality is over the years of severe budget crisis our men’s & women’s track, field and cross country programs, and the women’s tennis program, were impacted the most. With the track, field and cross country programs for the recent 2013-2014 academic year operating with approximately 35 percent of the scholarships that are allowed for those five sports. 


With the recent passing of the Student Success Initiative, which will be phased in over the next three years, we plan to bring the track, field and cross country programs to 100% of the NCAA maximum allowed for those five sports. This alone will greatly increase our competitive success.


In addition, the track and field practice area will be undergoing significant renovations starting sometime this summer. As I mentioned in my October 2nd Ask Jim, the project scope will include:

• 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

In addition to these facility improvements and scholarship funding, this past year we added another full-time coach to the staff and we have provided a part-time administrative assistant to help with logistics for the five track, field and cross country programs. We are also setting competitive goals for each program, which are incorporated into staff evaluations (we are doing this for all sports).


So, while the short answer to your questions is “yes!,” now you have a better idea of the details and depth behind the answer!  Look for our track, field and cross country programs to improve competitively and within a three-to-five year period, be poised to win a Big West Conference Championship!


From Frank Otsuka (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
I read that the ROTC unit on campus is now the neighbor of the Titan Athletic "Titan House", any possibility that there might be an ROTC 'night' or something like that to get them to games? 

A: Frank, thanks for your question. Actually, for the Titan Baseball series versus Hawai’i (April 25-27), we did have “Armed Forces Weekend” at Goodwin Field (the weekend was coordinated by Becca Dobbs, our Marketing and Promotions Assistant). Past and present military personnel that showed their military ID received two tickets for each game. In addition, at Sunday's game (4/27/14) the ROTC Honor Guard presented the colors and a helicopter landed on the field pregame with a Wounded Warrior – Chief Warrant Officer 4 Malcolm Campbell – who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. 

You can watch it here:

In addition, Aaron Tapper, our Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing has introduced himself to the program supervisors at CSUF ROTC, and we look to build our relationship with our “new neighbors” (note to those of you that haven’t been to the Titan House lately, CSUF ROTC was recently located in the old weight room area just north of the Titan House).


From William Schuster (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Q:  I was wondering why the Cal State Fullerton women’s tennis team doesn't have an account with for a live stat feed of the matches for supporters who can’t attend? 


A: Will, thank you for the great question and support of our women’s tennis program.
Currently, Cal State Fullerton’s website partner is Presto Sports, and live stats for tennis has yet to be integrated into its system. I can tell you that Presto is working on enhancing its tennis coverage by developing box scores for the first time this year, while working on adding a team and conference stats platform for the future, similar to what you would find for such sports as basketball, soccer, etc.
In fact, this year was the first season that the Athletic Department purchased the StatCrew system for our tennis program, which will aid us in keeping current stats as well as developing a thorough history of the program.

Partnering with StatBroadcast would come at an additional cost for the Athletics Department, and while we have made many improvements at the Titan Tennis Courts, including resurfacing the courts, we do not yet have a facility that would allow live coverage from the site.
We are certainly excited about the future of our women’s tennis program, and in the upcoming year will explore additional options to give our fans a way to follow our matches live.

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

First Installment (Oct. 2, 2013)
Second Installment (Dec. 2, 2013) 


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