Cuts to coaching staff are among early prioritization decisions

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Cuts to coaching staff are among early prioritization decisions

Staff Writer

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The Buena Vista University President’s Council has announced its first decisions from the prioritization process. In a March 31 email to faculty and staff, the Council announced decisions involving athletics, including the elimination of three positions and shift from full-time to part-time of two more.

The men and women’s golf and tennis head coaching positions will become part time; the part-time dance coach position will be eliminated; a part-time track and field assistant coaching position will be eliminated; and the administrative assistant position will be eliminated. These changes will be effective August 1, 2015.

In the email, the Council said that it decided that it is in the university’s best interest to release changes affecting athletics on campus now because contracts for the Athletic Department are usually finalized in March, which is on a different timeline than other university faculty and staff. Because of this time conflict, it is necessary for the changes to be announced now.

On Thursday, April 9, President Moore attended the Student Senate meeting to address the concerns of students regarding theses changes and how they were decided upon.

“It was a mix of things,” Moore said. “We looked carefully at the PIFs [Program Information Forms]. We looked at how they came out in the quintile reports. We considered our past and how we have staffed those sports. It was a lot of different things.”

In the email sent to all BVU faculty and staff, it was stated that these changes are not due to personnel review, but program review in general. The President’s Council and Board of Trustees are hoping that these changes, along with more to be announced in May, will help BVU successfully save $3 million in the next five years.

Because the changes directly affect the golf and tennis teams that are currently in season, Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray approached these teams early last week to inform them of the decisions and to take questions from the student athletes.

“A lot of my goal right now is to try and make sure morale stays as high as it can and make sure that people get that the expectations that we have for ourselves and that BVU has for us are the same regardless of the changes that are made, and that we should still shoot for excellence,” Abaray said.

Even though several teams are directly affected by this change, as of now, they will continue on with their respective seasons. All the coaches’ contracts are in effect until July 31.

“I feel like we can carry on successfully in those sports with the decisions we’ve made,” Moore said.

Over the next couple years, the institution will also seek opportunities to combine some assistant coaching positions with shared positions elsewhere on campus. These decisions have not been finalized and will be presented with all other decisions in May.

“I feel like, on balance, we took the right decisions in athletics,” Moore said. “All sectors of the institution need to play a part in this, and you’ll see that when we roll out all the decisions after the board meeting. They were not easy decisions and were not reached in a trivial manner. We discussed the athletic decisions very extensively.”

All new positions will be opened to the public, but current coaches and staff members on each team are still able to apply.

“All of our campus community, not just students, but faculty and staff, all need to rally around each other and know that the ultimate goal is for BVU to be better stewards of its resources and to position ourselves to be better in the future. As hard as that may be to envision right now, I trust the process. We all need to trust the process,” Abaray said.

Any students who have questions or concerns about decisions regarding the Athletics Department are encouraged to visit with Abaray. All other changes due to prioritization will not be released until May 8, 2015.

Photo courtesy of BVU Athletics