As South Carolina State University continues struggling with budget problems, the school is considering a budget that would eliminate the varsity men’s basketball team and an elementary school operated by the college.
However, the school’s trustees were not willing to consider the idea at their Wednesday meeting, even as the next budget year begins in less than a week. The trustees did vote to raise tuition by 3.2 percent (about a $313 increase) for in-state students and 5 percent (an additional $946) for out-of-state.
SC State officials are currently struggling over how they will make up a nearly $14 million debt. The school received a $6 million state loan last month, but the loan was to cover immediate financial obligations. Last week, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed S.C. State on probation due to what the accrediting group said was poor handling of financial problems.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the trustees could not agree how to make up the enormous deficit. The board considered a proposed budget that would eliminate or cut funding for numerous programs, including the men’s basketball and women’s golf teams, closing the Felton Laboratory School, and requiring 14 days of employee furloughs.
President Thomas Elzey made it clear he did not support the proposal. “We cannot do it by cutting,” he said, according to WIS-TV. “Grow our way out of it and raise money. Those are two ways of being able to improve our overall financial position and help us address these deficits that we’re facing.”
Trustees appeared to oppose the idea of eliminating basketball, however, especially after Interim Athletics Director Octavio Miro reported that it would cost the university $730,000 in exit fines and would likely put the university on probation with the NCAA.
The Felton Lab is an elementary school that serves as a location for S.C. State students to train as teachers. Its closure would save the school $959,000 per year, according to the budget.
State law requires the school to have a budget in place before its new fiscal year begins on July 1, but trustees say that is unlikely.