Budget cuts hurt ELAC Athletics Department

By Liliana Marquez

The East Los Angeles College Athletics Department will be facing drastic changes as a result of fall semester cuts forcing teams to  begin fundraising.

Each sport, 15 in total at ELAC, are now required to fundraise in order to help the department cover meals for athletes, travel expenses and uniform costs.

According to Richard Brown, chairperson of the men’s P.E. department, their budget was cut by 13.2 percent which translates to the cancellation of 11 classes.

Athletic Director Al Cone showed his disappointment after finding out about the cuts, even though he knew the department was going to be affected just like the rest of the school.

For that reason, the department has required all teams to fundraise.

“We have been preparing for this by requiring all teams to fundraise. I have been on this campus since 1989. In this time, I have seen cuts in all aspects of this department, from money being cut, to facilities being removed,” Cone said.

Cone is not the only one who reacted to the budget cuts.

The head coaches and athletes for fall sports shared their thoughts on the issue.

“I guess athletics is usually the first program to get cut because of what we do and the size of the budget, which compared to other schools is not that big. We are going to be the focus of the budget cuts because of the numbers that we have. It has been eight years in a row. We are barely hanging in there,” said Wrestling Head Coach Ralph Valle.

According to Valle, from the 15 sports ELAC offers, only 13 fundraise on a regular basis.

“Fundraising is an issue. Most of us fundraise, a couple of coaches don’t, but according to Mr. Al Cone that is going to change. We all do what we have to do, which technically is in our job description,” Valle said.

“I wasn’t surprised. It was expected given the financial situation of the state,” said soccer Head Coach Eddie Flores.

“For some sports it is tougher than others, but we do the best we can. I think it will have some effect because we will not be able to do the things we used to do 10 years ago, (or) 20 years ago,” Valle said.

Flores, on the other side, said that the cuts will not affect them a lot since they are always planning for the future.

“We are in a very good position and we are going to be okay. The soccer team is planning some tournaments to raise money,” Flores said.

Valle believes that the budget cuts will not affect them, “I’m inclined to say ‘no.’ We have some very dedicated coaches and our goal is to get the kids in, never mind the budget.

“These are kind of separate issues. We have to get the kids to perform at the highest level and that’s shown in the number of scholarships we have. Our graduation rates are great, our scholarship transfer rates are also great for athletics. We are the best in the school in regard to student groups in overall- by far,” Valle said.

Flores believes that the cuts will not affect the performance of the athletes because they have all the equipment they need. He admits that traveling expenses will be an issue.

Giovanni Reyes, returning player for the men’s soccer team believes that this will affect all students, but mostly student athletes.

“Not a lot of students are going to be able to have the chance to get the classes that they really want or need. So it’s going to be kind of hard, especially for us athletes since we need this class to get the required units to play,” Reyes said.

Reyes also believes that the cuts can affect upcoming players since they need 24 units to play next year.

The same thing will happen with student athletes who want to transfer. Due to the cuts, they might find themselves in the need to postpone their graduation or transferring plans.

Cross Country returning player Daniel Zaragoza-Rincon believes that the budget cuts are unfair because they will have less events, practices and resources.

“This is bad in general. They are cutting so many classes, but the fact that I am an athlete also gets me worried.” said teammate Carlos Lopez.

“I actually found out that they had to cut one of the track and field classes during fall, and I needed to workout. It kind of upsets me a little because now I am gonna have to focus more on running on my own when I work better having my coaches there,” Lopez said.

Lopez also said that he found out recently that the cross country team is getting cut from lunch money and that they will possibly have to cut certain funds for their races.

The majority of cross country events are invitations and the school has to pay for that. According to Lopez it is very expensive for even just one person to race.

Lopez believes that the cuts will affect their performances because each runner has to be consistent with racing and practice. For him it would be a shame that someone will not be able to race because the sport does not have the necessary money for them to race.

Brian Hoist, returning player for the men’s soccer team, believes that the cuts can affect the morale of the players because they will not have the funding or resources there.

“I was shocked because sports always needs money and funding, and for the P.E. Department to get cut, then sports will not be able to function like they normally do,” Hoist said.

“We do better than Cerritos and Mt. SAC. We just do a good job in getting kids in the next level and that is credit to our coaching staff, they really work to get the kids going to the next level.

And of course counseling between Mrs. Teola and I. We work hard to make that happen,” Valle said. Regarding the cuts for  the Women’s P.E. Department, Campus News was not able to get in touch with the chairperson, Erika Blanco.

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