The University of Kansas is wrestling with a $20 million budget cut, and the provost responded Wednesday to a plan to take money from athletics and the university endowment to lessen the pain for academics.
The cuts, announced earlier this year, are in response to rising costs and reductions to higher education funding in recent years, although some of that state funding has been restored by Kansas lawmakers.
During a meeting on KU's budget situation, Faculty Senate President Kirk McClure pushed his proposal that athletics contribute to academics, instead of receiving $1.5 million dollars in support.
“A $100 million corporation would make a 3 percent contribution, the same burden that would be requested of the faculty and the staff," he said. "I suggest that would play into very simple fairness.”
McClure is also asking the endowment to give more to help reduce the cut.
KU provost Carl Lejuez said taking more money from the endowment now could hurt finances down the road.
“Pushing things down and adding to further debt in the future, which I won’t do,” Lejuez said.
Lejuez said he’s open to changes for sports but he stressed that athletics offer indirect benefits to the university, like students brought to KU by athletic scholarships.
The discussion of athletics funding comes at the same time as a trial involving what prosecutors say were illegal payments from someone working for Adidas to the families of KU recruits. The alleged payments were aimed at steering the recruits to attend KU.
Nothing so far has implicated the university or KU coaches in the alleged scheme.
Stephen Koranda reports on the budget discussion: