This fall the LSU Shreveport Pilot’s Athletic Program will celebrate twelve years of successful programming since being reinstated in 2003.
However, this fall also marks the twenty-fifth birthday of the athletic program. The program was terminated in 1997 due to a deficient in funds. The Athletic Council developed a plan to include an athletic fee in the tuition of each traditional on-campus student at LSUS. This plan was implemented and allowed the program to resume after six years of no athletics.
“You can’t operate in a deficit,” said Chad McDowell, LSUS athletic director.
In April 2010 athletic funds began to regress. The student body voted to increase the amount of the athletic fee in annual tuition to support the continuation of the program. In one of the biggest student-body voting elections of LSUS history, the 522-493 votes supported the increase in the athletic fee.
In 2013, forty-four percent of the out–of-state students chose LSUS because of athletics. In that same year however the men and women’s soccer teams were cut due to insufficient funds. Men and women’s cross-country team replaced soccer and in fall of 2014. Four cross-country athletes were named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) athletes of the year.
“The biggest misconception about the Athletic Program here at LSUS is that University funds are spent on athletics, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said one LSUS Athletic Department representative.
Of the millions of dollars spent of the LSUS annual budget, zero dollars was spent on athletics. All expenses, including the salaries of coaches and athletic administrators, are completely funded through the athletic fees paid by traditional students. LSUS e-campus students do not pay the athletic fee. As the number of online students continues to increase the amount of funds for the athletic department get smaller.
Despite the financial obstacles the LSUS Athletic Program has faced the success and programming continues to thrive. Last Spring LSUS Athletics received the Champions of Character award by the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) for the second year in a row. The award is presented annually to one of the 13 colleges within the 4 conference states for displaying the core values of the RRAC’ mission statement. The recognized values include: respect, responsibility, service leadership, sportsmanship, and integrity.
To find out more information about the LSUS Athletic Program, students can visit http://www.lsusathletics.com/, or download the Android/ iOS app “LSUS Athletics.”