Football is safe at Towson State, for now.
The school's nine-member Intercollegiate Athletic Committee has decided to await the outcome of the NCAA convention in January before making any decisions regarding the athletic program.
The committee is reviewing the proposed 1991-92 budget submitted by athletic director Billy Hunter while also looking at an athletic department deficit of $181,809 in 1989-90. Officials have discussed a number of options to reduce the deficit, which is projected to reach $257,018 for two years. They include raising student athletic fees from $270 to $370 -- a 37 percent increase -- and dropping football, which costs approximately $750,000, more than 25 percent of the $2.7 million athletic budget.
In January the NCAA will vote on a restructuring policy that will stiffen membership requirements for Division I. It's likely the Tigers will have to increase scholarships program-wide to remain in the top classification, and a drop in football to Division II or III could cause the entire program to lose its Division I status.
At present, Towson State is one of the lowest-funded football teams in Division I-AA and its 44 scholarships are well below the NCAA limit of 70.
"They [the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee] have decided to postpone any decisions regarding funding until after the national convention in January," Hunter said last night.
Earlier Hunter had said that Towson State was examining its entire athletic program -- it funds 21 teams -- because of the upcoming restructuring. "The only thing that we've been able to ascertain is that we want to remain in Division I. Now it comes down to whether or not we're willing to make a financial commitment to do just that.
"If it comes down to us not getting the financial commitment we need and paring the budget, we're going to have to decide what sports we're going to suspend."