What is being called a “broad coalition of students, alumni, faculty and staff” will hold a “Rally Against Cuts” on Monday outside of the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Convocation Center. The group will demonstrate publicly their belief that the 4 sports programs that the school announced in March would be cut should not be.
EMU Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff
Rally Against Cuts to Save EMU Sports Teams
Monday, April 16th at 6 pm
EMU Convocation Center, 799 North Hewitt Road
Supporters of the men’s swimming, men’s wrestling, women’s softball, and women’s tennis teams will gather to protest what they say is lies peddled as to the actual cost savings of the cuts.
“We won’t be silent while short-sighted administrators try to cut the heart out of our university,” said Mark Krusinski, an EMU student and member of the swim team. “They said it would save money to cut our teams, but that’s not even true.”
A study by Howard Bunsis, an EMU Professor of Accounting, says that his calculations show that cutting these 4 sports will actually cost the school $61,000 total annually, rather than the $2.4 million in savings claimed. These calculations include his identification of an overestimate of the costs of the wrestling program by $279,000, as well as a failure to account for revenue earned by non-scholarship athletes paying tuition. Eastern Michigan is currently seeing a decline in enrollment, which could be worsened by the loss of these 4 programs.
“We support our students, and we believe that athletics provides many students the opportunity to experience what sports can provide; a tremendous sense of teamwork and dedication,” said Howard Bunsis “We believe we can continue to provide students in all sports the same experience in a different economic framework.”
So far, the protests have fallen on deaf ears in Ypsilanti. The school has stood by its calculations, in spite of Bunsis’ alternative math, and have put out a press release stating that fundraising efforts won’t be enough to save the programs. The school is currently losing $24 million annually on its athletics programs, out of a $30 million budget – meaning that approximately $1000 from every EMU student is used to subsidize the program. That’s one of the worst financial performances in Division I. The school’s football program brings in more revenue than any other program (just over $3 million), but also was the most expensive to operate – at more than $9 million. That means $5.8 million of football expenses were covered by direct institutional support.
The men’s swimming team, meanwhile, received direct institutional support of $749,000 in 2017 on the program’s operating costs of $813,000.
Monday’s rally is sponsored by the Coalition for a Better EMU. More information is available at saveEMUsports.com. The rally is also being supported by the university’s faculty union.