University of Maryland swimming coach Steve Mahaney spent most of yesterday repairing damage from published reports that budget problems within the athletic department will cause reduced spending next year, including the possible suspensions of some non-revenue sports such as tennis, swimming and golf.
Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger said yesterday that seven to eight scenarios are being considered to help reduce an estimated deficit of nearly $5 million.
"I met with the players yesterday because they needed to know for the first time what may happen," said Mahaney. "This is all really nothing new because Andy said at a coaches meeting recently there might be cutbacks in operating and salaries."
The reductions are being considered as the department plans its budget for the 1993 fiscal year and develops three-year and five-year financial forecasts for the first time. Geiger said he would like to have the new plan in effect by the new fiscal year that begins in July. The athletic council is made up of faculty, administrators, students and alumni.
Geiger said that he did not think football, men or women's basketball or lacrosse would be affected.
"This is all part of a process to develop an affordable athletic program, though somewhat at a lesser level," said Geiger. "We still want to be competitive as possible in a core of sports, but mindful of the 17 percent increase in tuition [will cost the athletic department $300,000 to $400,0000) as well as the current deficit. The faster we develop a plan, the faster we can restore the athletic department."
"It is inevitable, we have to shrink the department," said Geiger. "We don't want to do this quickly because it's a very involved, emotional process."
The deficit will be increased by at least $400,000 because of the hiring of new football coaches while Maryland still pays former coach Joe Krivak's assistants until June.
"I think we all know that a stronger effort in football, as well as continued strong efforts in men and women's basketball, goes a long way to keeping us competitive in the athletic arms race," said Geiger. "This is not just a problem here at Maryland, but much of the country. I think all the coaches are aware that some changes have to be made."
Maryland is on a five-year campaign to raise $25 million.
"It's not in our hands," said Don Slebodnik, Maryland's golf coach. "Hopefully, the suspensions won't happen."