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Music vs. Athletics; comparing differences in department budgets

Concordia’s music and athletic departments get a significant amount of attention around campus. As a liberal arts school that emphasizes involvement, students may wonder if there is much difference between the two departments’ budgets.

Concordia’s new athletic director, Rich Glas, is learning the ropes of the athletic department’s budget.

When asked to compare the confidential budgets of the music and athletic departments, Glas said, “I think it’s apples and oranges…They have teams too.”

The money allocated by the college for both departments comes from tuition, gifts and endowments, said Jim Aageson, dean of the arts and sciences at Concordia. However, Aageson works with the music budget.

The athletic department’s budget, which comes from both allocations by the college and gifts from outside donors, such as alumni, has to be split up among the everyday items and each team, Glas said.

Not too different from athletics, the money that makes up the music budget also comes from the general college and donations, said Robert Chabora, chair of the music department at Concordia. The budget is similarily divided up among the operational costs of the program, as well as the separate ensembles, Chabora said.

Both departments’ operational budgets go toward new equipment, replacing instruments, fixing anything that is broken, dues to the NCAA and the various music federations and office expenses, to name a few.

Glas said this is all of the money they receive for the teams. As an NCAA Division III school, Cobber teams do not have booster clubs providing any extra funding. The “pot,” as Glas put it, stays about the same no matter how many students are participating in athletics.

“If we get more athletes per team that means more cost, but that doesn’t mean that each athlete we’re bringing in is bringing in x amount of dollars. The overall pot stays the same. It’s a challenge,” Glas said.

This also means it is all the money they have for traveling teams. Glas said when it comes down to it, each player’s per diem budget is spread pretty thin.

“We’re not out there spending money foolishly. I think our meal costs [last year] for the all teams was right around $17 to $18 a day. We’re not getting fat on that. A lot of pizzas and a lot of sub sandwiches,” Glas said.

This is the biggest difference between the two departments. While the athletic department funds all of their teams’ travel, the music ensembles’ travel budget comes from Concordia’s Office of Cultural Events, Chabora said. This means neither the students nor the department have to pay a cent for their tours across the state and country.

Chabora said these tours help “cast a wide net” and are something the audiences appreciate.

The main reason for differently sized budgets between departments, Aageson said, is the way they are run.

“The critical piece on this is maintaining the highest quality faculty and staff we can get and the adequate resources for them to do their jobs,” Aageson said, but “the way instruction takes place” is the largest difference.

While there are financial differences between the two departments, Chabora said there is mutual support for each program.

“I have sympathies and love for both of them,” Chabora said. “I know we ask a lot of students as varsity sports also ask a lot from our students.”

Regardless of the difference in how their travel is funded, both music and sports bring positive attention to Concordia College on a state-and-nation-wide scale. And though some might see the departments as competitors, the relationship between the two is healthy.

“We want to be good neighbors,” Chabora said.

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