WolfPack deal with budget pressures
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack will tighten their collective belt and hunt for money in the next two years, with school-wide budget pressures continuing to affect the athletic department.
"We have two choices: Either cut spending or increase revenue," TRU athletic director Ken Olynyk said.
"Obviously, we're looking at areas that we think we can save money, but also areas that we feel we can raise money and increase our revenue size."
The Kamloops university is targeting about five per cent savings over a three-year term, which started in 2012.
There are no plans in place for any drastic measures in athletics, such as eradicating teams or programs, but budget trimming has already begun.
No longer, for example, do WolfPack teams fly to Calgary to play the Dinos. Instead, they take the bus.
Other travel costs are also taken into more careful consideration.
On in-province road trips, "Instead of going the night before, which is common practice throughout the league, we'll go the day of," Olynyk said.
"You're saving some money on meals, accommodation, bus costs, etcetera."
Flying to Calgary to avoid a lengthy bus trip has its obvious advantages and surely arriving in Prince George a day before playing the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves would be preferred to traversing Highway 97 on game day.
Those are the types of sacrifices WolfPack players and coaches are dealing with — and the same types of concessions are being made university-wide.
"I don't think many of the directors and deans revel in it at all," Olynyk said.
"There's always frustrations in that you want to give everybody the greatest opportunity to be successful.
"Often that seems to be tied to budget, but it's not necessarily the case at all.
"We have great facilities here. We have one of the best training centres and we have great support staff.
"There are lots of other factors that come into offering quality programs."
There has been no change in what athletics programs at TRU can offer for scholarships, Olynyk said — at least not yet.
"Once the new fiscal comes in next September, it could affect what programs can offer scholarship-wise, but if we're good in our fundraising aspects, that means we've got an opportunity to keep it at a level that we want, or even increase it."
There have, however, been changes in the amount of money tied to academic-excellence awards.
"We've limited that a little more than we have in the past," Olynyk said.
In 2012, TRU expanded its team of development officers, who are charged with the task of doubling fundraising within 2.5 years, going from $3 million to $6 million.
The athletic department stands to benefit from the creation of those new positions down the road.
"Right now, we're in kind of a holding pattern," Olynyk said.
"We try and make it as fair and even for everyone that's involved in our programs."