Athletic department handles budget cuts

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Despite budget cuts that have affected Bethel College in many aspects over the last several years, Athletic Director Jody Martinez believes that the Pilot athletic department has only seen a few minor changes. Due to smart decision making and solid fundraising, the department has been able to still make steps forward and supply each team with the funding they need. Overall, Martinez feels that the athletic department has not taken a sudden hit from the struggling economy. On the contrary, teams have seen a gradual change and slightly tighter budgets. Thankfully for the teams, they can manage a season with lower budget amounts due to the strong fundraising that is done. Each team has a set amount that they like to raise and do this through phonothons and letters. Fundraising has also stayed fairly constant because of the fact that these donations come from family and friends who are concerned with programs. In addition to the fundraising, Bethel College will also save quite a bit of money due to athletic director Mark Lantz. As of right now, the department is not looking to replace the position, but rather create a leadership team that will carry all of the duties. Martinez has been elected in charge of the team and will be the official athletic director. This is something that the athletic department will look to do in the long run and anticipate saving money from. Martinez also believes that Bethel athletics have managed to make smart decisions. “We have a .500 rule,” said Martinez. This rule means that a team needs to maintain at least a .500 record to become eligible for post-season tournaments such as NCCAA and NAIA. The department also tries to be efficient when it comes to teams traveling long distances. According to Martinez, it would not make sense for teams to travel a long distance to compete in a game or meet that would not be very competitive or a solid experience. Another smart decision they have been forced to make this year has been getting rid of the buses they own and use Cardinal buses. This has not come as a result of low budgets but the fact that the buses had become too much of a liability. Teams had trouble with the buses breaking down and it became a safety issue. In addition, the buses still required driver labor and maintenance fees as they had become very old. By and large, Martinez believes that the athletic department is headed in the right direction. “I think the future for Bethel Athletics is very bright,” Martinez stated. Martinez believes that Bethel has a strong long-term vision that involves the new leadership team and taking steps forward within each individual program.
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