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Fresno State Faculty: Stop Diverting Money from Academics to Athletics
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 1 month ago on
May 22, 2024

Fresno State's Faculty Senate says the university needs to revise its spending priorities. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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The Fresno State Academic Senate says the university and CSU system need to reverse the trend of putting more general fund and student tuition money into athletics at the expense of academics.

The Senate voted unanimously last month for a resolution that says spending on Athletics from the state general fund has soared by 390% over 13 years, while the allocation to Athletics from student fees rose by 1,416% between 2007-08 and 2021-22, “the largest percentage increase for a NCAA Division 1 public university during this time.”

The resolution notes that the university’s explanation for increasing athletics funding over academics is “market driven” because Fresno State is a Division 1 university.

The Faculty Senate called on Fresno State to adjust its priorities to provide more support for Academic Affairs, including more student financial aid and providing more funding for faculty to conduct research and produce scholarly works by readjusting their workloads.

“Fresno State should become a regional and national leader in stopping runaway athletics spending, rather than being one of the worst national examples of following the now-accepted budgetary practice that is clearly detrimental to the primary academic mission of any university,” the resolution says.

University: Both Academics and Athletics Are Essential

But the university says that more than two-thirds of the campus budget is spent on Academic Affairs, with less than 4% allocated to Athletics. Those allocations have been “consistent” over the past six years, the university said in an email to GV Wire on Wednesday.

“Both academics and athletics are fundamental to the vibrancy and success of Fresno State,” the university’s email said. “The campus budget allocation methodology is transparent and there is regular consultation with the Academic Senate and other campus stakeholder groups. Current and previous fiscal year budgets are available on our website.”

The university said it plans to meet this fall with the Academic Senate “to ensure clarity with the percentages utilized in their resolution, which included reference to general funds and student fees.” The email also noted that the university respects and values the “important” role that the Academic Senate has in the decision-making process.

Faculty Senate Resolution By the Numbers

The resolution’s claims include:

  • The allocation to Athletics from the state general fund and student tuition has increased from $3.6 million in 2009-10 to $18.1 million in 2021-22, while Academic Affairs’ allocation has been “static.”
  • Funding from student fees for Athletics climbed from $288,506 in 2007-08 to $4.3 million in 2021-22.
  • Of the $132 “instructionally related activities” fee charged to each Fresno State student, $92 goes to athletics, while $30 funds IRA projects and $10 supports academic programs.
  • Fresno State budgeted $5.3 million to Athletics and $730,000 to Academic Affairs from tuition reserve funds in 2022-23.

Dr. Raymond Hall, chair of the Academic Senate, declined to speak on behalf of the Faculty Senate in response to questions emailed to him by GV Wire. He noted that the resolution’s inspiration was a Feb. 28 investigative report in The Collegian, the student newspaper, that outlined spending trends on Athletics at Fresno State.

California State University spokeswoman Amy Bentley-Smith said the resolution was Fresno State-specific and referred all questions to Fresno State.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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