Athletic department ready for cuts

Zak S. Cowan, Editor in Chief
March 14, 2012
Filed under Sports

With new details of the state budget coming out of Sacramento, and the Moorpark College baseball program disbanding after this season, members of the Bakersfield College athletic department are bracing for the likely cuts coming their way and reflecting on the loss of a member of the Western State Conference.

BC athletic director Ryan Beckwith is preparing his department for the worst possible outcome.

“With the situation that we have in the state, we’re going to have to be proactive in the way we do business,” Beckwith said.

“We’re trying to cut costs everywhere, and we’re going to have to make adjustments and get out in front of this thing.”

The news of the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s latest report has brought the budget issue to the forefront of every person involved with the California Community College Athletic Association.

CCCAA president Carlyle Carter has encouraged athletic directors across the state to take the situation seriously.

“Many still hold the opinion that the economic situation and effect on sport programs is ‘business as usual,’” Carter said in an email to all athletic directors of the CCCAA. “Given the recent situation regarding the LAO recommendation to disallow apportionment for intercollegiate PE courses … and this latest development, I would hope all of us would view this as a need to step up our efforts [and] find more advocates on campus and around the system.”

According to an email sent out by chancellor Sandra Serrano, the deficit could have a major impact on the Kern Community College District.

“The growing state deficit could result in a reduction in the KCCD budget of between $13.2 and $17.8 million for the 2013 and 2014 budget years,” Serrano wrote. “The $17.8 million reduction for KCCD assumes that the Governor’s tax proposition will fail in November. This projected decline represents the largest decrease in ongoing unrestricted funding ever encountered by KCCD.”

Beckwith and the rest of the athletic department are currently considering their options and how to handle the situation.

“That is, right now, the big discussion that we’re contemplating right now,” he said. “How are we going to cut costs so that we don’t lose anything?”

Beckwith said that they are going to accomplish this by doing their “due diligence to make sure that we’re saving our costs so that we are not costing the college as much.”

The Western State Conference will be losing Moorpark College’s baseball program after this season due to financial issues and budget woes, forcing the Bakersfield College baseball team to say goodbye to a friendly and familiar foe.

“Over the years, there is a friendship and a mutual respect that has been developed between the two programs,” BC coach Tim Painton said. “You hate to see that disappear.”

Painton’s relationship with Moorpark coach Mario Porto dates back to when he took over to coach the Raiders 13 years ago after 10 as an assistant coach.

Painton credits Porto with conducting a successful program that has consistently moved players on to four-year schools, as well as seen players move up to play professionally.

“He’s done everything right,” Painton said. “And to have the carpet pulled out from underneath him is something that doesn’t seem fair.”

Moorpark, over the past few years, has become a constant presence on the BC campus.

“This has really become their second home,” Painton said. “They play two tournaments here and usually come up and play us a single game as well.”

Athletic director Ryan Beckwith is sad to see Moorpark’s program go.

“To see any program or sport cut is sad all the way around, even if it’s not here,” Beckwith said. “It’s a great, historical and successful program.”

BC second baseman Elijah Trail said that seeing such a familiar program go down “is kind of heartbreaking” after so many years of stability and success.

“To see them shut down all of a sudden is unfortunate,” Trail said. “They’re a great group of guys and playing against them was fun. They have great class [and] they’re just true sportsmen.”

Renegade outfielder Jake Verdugo said that seeing a program like Moorpark shut down should make BC put its own situation in perspective.

“You just can’t take what you have for granted,” Verdugo said.

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