The loss of jobs and closing of stores seems to be an every-day happening in today’s struggling economy and many are wondering what type of effect this has had on the sports world, college athletics in particular.
For Sam Houston State athletics, the struggle appears to be in the form of traveling and lodging.
“It’s not impacting us with scholarships,” Bobby Williams, director of athletics, said. “It impacted us about a year ago when the oil prices started going up. We started seeing the higher cost to rent buses and higher fuel charges on air fare.”
It appears that even the cost of traveling to nearby colleges to face opponents has increased.
“To play Rice or UH it would cost $500-700. Now, it’s costing $1,500,” Williams said. “We flew commercially to North Carolina and those tickets were $330 or something like that, but the teams were on two different planes.”
Williams stated that the department has held several meetings to disucss ways to combat the rising costs of traveling for athletic competitions.
“We always look at ways [to manage costs],” Williams said. ” If you’ve got a 50-passenger bus, it really doesn’t help you taking less players. Where it cuts is saving on meals and hotels.”
Williams said that the push to get new uniforms for some of the teams at SHSU has been pushed back due to lack of funds. He said that the incentive now is to try and get them next year.
Regardless of the traveling expenses and new uniforms, ticket sales and donations have always been important, to SHSU and other schools as well.
“From the donations standpoint to ticket sales, we haven’t seen an impact yet,” Williams said.
Despite the minimal effect so far from the downward spiraling economy, the athletics department is feeling the pinch.
“A lot of it is postponing until money becomes available,” Williams said.