February 22, 2002
New stadium becomes multifunctionalAs the new turf in the football stadium nears completion, many students are rolling their eyes asking, "Does the football team really need any more amenities?"
During the past several years, thanks to a generous donor, the football team has accrued new uniforms, cleats and an entire new stadium. Now, thanks again to that generous donor, the stadium will boast a new turf field and lights for night games.
"Not to worry," Don Harnum, director of athletics, said. Harnum assures that the new field is not intended solely for football use.
"It's always a challenge to explain to students, faculty, parents and alumni that football is not an 800-pound gorilla," Harnum said.
By "800-pound gorilla," he means that the team is not the benefactors of the athletic department's entire operating budget.
"What we are doing with the stadium is converting it from a football stadium to a field hockey, lacrosse and intramural stadium," Harnum said.
Harnum added that all measures will be taken to ensure that those teams have chances to play on the new field.
"Of course when there is a Saturday football game that is expected to attract 2,000 into the stadium and a Saturday field hockey game that is expected to bring 200, the priority must go to the football team," Harnum said.
Still, many athletes feel that the money being generated to the football team is unfair to other sports teams at Susquehanna.
Harnum assured that, in accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association Title IX standards, the money is evenly distributed between men's and women's sports teams.
Title IX states "No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance," according to the N.C.A.A. web site.
According to the Equity Athletic Disclosure Act report for the 2000-2001 school year, $34,392 was the operating expense for the football team, more than twice as much as many of the other sports.
Harnum explained that this is because football tends to have larger teams --Susquehanna's team boasts more than 70 players -- and the equipment needed costs more than many other sports.
"Football players need a helmet, pads and a uniform and soccer players only need a uniform and shin guards. Title IX requires that male and female student-athletes receive equitable treatment and benefits, not the same amount of dollars spent per athlete," Harnum said.
Actually, Susquehanna's athletic department spends more per female athlete than it does per male athletes, according to the E.A.D.A. report.
However, this difference is minute. During the 2000-2001 year, the athletic department spent $353 per female athlete and $344 per male athlete, according to Harnum.
The operating expense for all sports include expenses an institution incurs attributable to home, away and neutral-site intercollegiate athletic contests. It also includes team travel, lodging and meals, uniforms, equipment and officials.
The football team has been able to operate on a smaller budget than comparative universitiesí teams in recent years, largely because of the donors that support the team.
"Last year football received $36,000 in gift money from the Varsity Club and donors like Nick Lopardo," Harnum said.
This year, Lopardo has donated money for the new turf field and lights, and $6,000 for new cleats for the football team, according to Harnum.
In the past several years he has donated millions to Susquehanna in order to fund the building of the new Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium.
"In the past few years Nick Lopardo has given a huge sum of money to the football team, at times being a little excessive," Harnum said. "But his generosity allows the athletic department to redirect funds that were set aside for football to other sports teams."
"Every athlete has benefited from [Lopardo's] generosity," Harnum said.
Harnum denied rumors that have been circulating that the new turf can only withstand a few hours of play per day.
"When we were first investigating the new field we visited several places that have the turf field. Ringold High School in Pittsburgh installed their turf six years ago and have held 1,700 events on it in that time," Harnum said. "The field can be sued from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and still be a great field."
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