Chancellor open to workable funding plans for NCAA program

Chancellor George Blumenthal challenged supporters of intercollegiate athletics to develop a workable plan to provide sustainable funding to the NCAA Division III program.

"I am willing to delay a decision about what we do with the program," Blumenthal said during opening remarks to the campus Academic Senate on May 18. "I want to see if (the committees studying NCAA athletics) can identify solutions to allow us to keep athletics going forward."

He said that simply asking the campus to fully fund the program—which will cost more next year because of new federal labor laws—places it in direct competition with academic priorities.

"There's no question that this is a difficult choice," he said.

The Academic Senate's Special Committee on Athletics submitted an interim report encouraging campus leaders to further study the NCAA program and sustainable funding models before any final decisions are made. The Senate unanimously approved the resolution.

A committee comprised of UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board members and alumni councilors is also drafting recommendations.

Blumenthal praised the NCAA program and its value to the campus.

"Student athletes have impressive academic performance," he said. "They are an impressive group of students."