The Second Installment of "Ask Jim" - Dec. 2, 2013


Welcome to the second installment of "Ask Jim," a feature on 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 second edition! If you wish to submit a question for our next installment, please click here.

First Installment (Oct. 2, 2013)

Now, without further ado...

From Steve Thomas (Yorba Linda, Calif.)

Q: I'm willing to pay the $25 donation on my baseball season tickets if I can be assured that my donation goes solely to the baseball program. Please tell me how I might make that happen?

A: Steve, thank you for your question.  You actually cover several different aspects in your question, so let me “back up” and fully explain the rationale for the $25 donation and how it is accounted for when you send your check in to pay for your season tickets – and THANK YOU very much for being a Titan Baseball season ticket holder!

First of all, as I stated in the letter we recently mailed to all season ticket holders, the cost of doing business as a Division I athletic program continues to rise – scholarship cost; salaries; facilities; travel; uniforms; etc.  This means from time-to-time we have to raise prices to increase our revenue so we can attempt to meet the increased costs we are facing.

The IRS allows 80% of a donation associated with purchasing athletic tickets to be tax-deductible. So, $20 of the $25 donation you are making in conjunction with the purchase of your season ticket is tax- deductible as a charitable contribution. (This should not be construed as tax advice, which should only be offered by your professional tax advisor.)

In regard to the donation being “directed” to a particular program, the donation that is part of purchasing Titan baseball season tickets will be an unrestricted contribution to the CSUF Athletics program.  Essentially, the funds come into the athletic department and are spent on our sports programs as directed by management.

With the donations associated with season ticket purchases (we also implemented this concept with men’s basketball season ticket sales) being unrestricted it provides us maximum flexibility to meet my main responsibility as Athletic Director – to make sure we keep our Titan Baseball program nationally competitive, while at the same time increasing the competitive level of all our other existing sports.

Donations made to the baseball program separate from ticket sales can indeed be directed to and remain with the baseball program.
Again, thank you very much for your support and your question, and I hope you continue to support Titan Baseball.

From William Schuster (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Q: Will Cal State Fullerton ever have a varsity intercollegiate monogram alumni club for its lettermen or a varsity lettermen's wall plaque in the lobby of Titan Gym to feature all-time student athletes from all sports? And, will Cal State Fullerton ever bring back its men’s tennis program?

A: William, thank you for your questions.  We are looking into creating a Letterwinner’s Club for Titan Athletics.  We have received several inquiries and suggestions from former student-athletes, and our Director of Development (Greg Paules) is planning to spend time during the Spring of 2014 to formulate the bylaws, benefits and membership requirements for such a club (for example, will membership be restricted to those that actually received a Letter or to those that are listed on a roster – and what do we do about the “early years” when we may no longer have any documents related to Letters or even any “official” rosters).

We are hopeful that we will be able to officially create the CSUF Letterwinners Club sometime in the late summer of 2014.  When we are ready to move forward we will announce it on our website and create a Letterwinners page that will give details on the Club.

At this time, there are no plans to have a varsity lettermen’s wall plaque in the lobby of Titan Gym, but we will list the members of the CSUF Letterwinners Club on our website.

Lastly, at this time I do not foresee men’s tennis being reinstated at Cal State Fullerton.  That said, I will never say never, because if a donor were to create a $20-$25 million  endowment benefiting a men’s tennis program, we would take a very serious look into reinstating men’s tennis.  And I might point out that if you are a tennis fan, we have a women’s tennis program that is progressively improving and could use your support!

From Larry Braverman (Yorba Linda, Calif.)

Q: Jim, will the Baseball team ever get a permanent press box instead of the current temporary facility?

A: Larry, a permanent press box is certainly something we look forward to developing, most likely through donor support as university funds for facility-improvement are limited.

In addition to a permanent press box, Titan Athletics would like to see more bathrooms, a permanent concession stand, new coaches offices, a new locker room for the student-athletes and if possible some suites that can be sold to create additional revenue to support our sports programs.  We have many projects and issues to address, but I’m hopeful between university support and donors we can address some of the issues I’ve detailed – including a permanent press box.  (but it’s highly doubtful the permanent press box will be addressed before the 2014 Titan Baseball season…)

From Jeff Rojas (La Mirada, Calif.)

Q: I would like to know when CSF is going to officially retire Mark Kotsay's #7?

A: Jeff, thank you for your question.  First of all let me state that only recently, because of another issue, have I been educated on “retired” and “honored” jerseys at Cal State Fullerton.  This education has only applied to past decisions, and there’s been no discussion to this point on the actual process to retire a number/jersey going forward.

Now this may be controversial to some, but I’m not a fan of officially retiring jerseys or numbers unless it is a very compelling and exceptional situation.  For me, very compelling and exceptional would be retiring #42 for Jackie Robinson and what he did to integrate professional baseball, and eventually all sports.

That said, I’m all for honoring great former CSUF student-athletes by displaying their jerseys in a public and prominent location – similar to what we have done with jerseys in Titan Gym. 

I know Mark Kotsay was a phenomenal baseball player for Cal State Fullerton, ultimately being named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1995 College World Series (the Titan’s 3rd National Championship).  And because of that Mark was honored in 2007 and inducted into the Titan Athletics Hall of Fame, the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed by Titan Athletics.  In addition, the 1995 CSUF Titan baseball team – the entire team – was just recently inducted into the Titan Athletics Hall of Fame on October 11th, 2013.

I will look into the process of retiring a jersey/number – but with the utmost respect to Mark and all other former Titan student-athletes, I think this action should only be taken in very compelling and exceptional cases (previous jersey/number retirement decisions not withstanding).  That said, I will sit down and talk to Coach Vanderhook about this concept (and I have been told that no one has worn Mark’s number since 1998).

Question for AD Jim Donovan (from Twitter)

Q: Why aren't softball shirts sold in the bookstore?

A: Actually, at this time we do have some softball merchandise available for sale in our bookstore.  We have sweatshirts and tee shirts available on the clearance rack for $9.97 each.  The bookstore is clearing out the inventory so they can make room for additional purchases for this upcoming season.  Recently the Titan Athletic Department made an effort to make our branding consistent – and the bookstore will be purchasing new items that conform to this new branding effort. 

In addition, the bookstore is looking into the possibility of online purchases, where the buyer will be able to customize their purchase.  As I understand it, there will be a basic Titan brand to the item, but the buyer will be able to customize it to softball, or soccer, etc.  Further, if things go according to plan, you will be able to customize for an order as small as one item.  When this concept becomes a reality – hopefully sometime this academic year – we will let our fans know about it through a feature story on our Titan Athletics homepage.