WSU Athletic Department forms Shocker Pride Fund to help replace losses in revenue

Darron+Boatright+has+been+the+Athletic+Director+at+Wichita+State+since+2016.+He+also+serves+as+a+member+of+the+President%E2%80%99s+Executive+Team+and+reports+directly+to+the+President.

FILE PHOTO/AUSTIN SHAW

Darron Boatright has been the Athletic Director at Wichita State since 2016. He also serves as a member of the President’s Executive Team and reports directly to the president.

Through the first four weeks of the school year at Wichita State, both fall sports of cross country and volleyball have been delayed until the spring semester. 

With the lack of sports, there remain some question marks with the lost revenues because of the postponements of these fall sports. So, the WSU Athletic Department formed a new Shocker Pride Fund on Sept. 11. 

Given the possible shortcomings in revenue, WSU Director of Athletics Darron Boatright feels that this is starting to become the norm across the country. 

“Well, I think it’s a common occurrence across the country right now in athletic departments that we’re all facing similar problems of different magnitudes,” Boatright said in a phone interview with The Sunflower. “We know there’s going to be a shortfall of revenues come in this year just due to limiting attendance based on local and state rules and regulations by the CDC.” 

Boatright said that he already received some interest in giving back so he wanted to give them an opportunity to help the athletic department during these trying times. As part of their donation, the supporters will receive a full tax benefit.

Although Boatright is not expecting a lot of individuals to participate, he has already received interest including a gift of $5,000 to the fund.

“Any little bit helps,” Boatright said. “I don’t anticipate a windfall of donations but I do think there will be several individuals that are interested. We’ve already had a gift of $5,000 come in. So, we’re excited about that. It’s a good way to get it kicked off and started.”

Throughout the pandemic, the athletic department has been tasked with finding different ways to help save money for the potential shortfall of revenue. The top 11 highest paid individuals in the athletic department were furloughed as well as a 10% cut across the board which effected every sport. 

So, as the athletic department continues to find ways to save money in various areas, travel has been an important area in saving money given the recruiting dead period that is in place until Jan. 1.  

“Well, we really have to manage our finances well and really limit expenses,” Boatright said. “Watch how we travel. Every expense has to be signed off on by the sport or department supervisor. Travel for our coaches and staff has basically been eliminated because we’re not in a recruiting period for the foreseeable future. We’re just looking at every line item and monitoring it closely and be able to manage it as well as we can.”

Earlier this week, the NCAA announced Nov. 25 as the new start date for the 2020-21 basketball season. Currently, WSU is yet to release any type of schedule for the upcoming season for both the men’s and women’s teams.

For Boatright, this announcement didn’t come as a surprise but he still feels that it is important that they continue to find different ways to manage the pandemic and find ways to plan around it. 

“We’re just hoping that we’re able to manage the pandemic, live along with it,” Boatright said. “It’s not going anywhere any time soon so, we’ll just learn to manage it the best we can. When we have events, we’ll try to do it with safety as the number one priority.”