USU-Eastern athletics budget lowest in state, SWAC conference

PRICE, Utah—Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah has a rich history of athletic achievement, from the baseball diamond to the basketball court. Eagles teams have competed for championships, (men’s basketball was third in the nation in 2009), boasted All-Americans, and has sent many athletes on to Division I schools. However, with all of that excellence, the USU-Eastern athletic department has a meager budget for an athletic program that is in the nation’s premier junior college conference. Eastern’s athletics budget is the lowest among Utah public colleges and universities, and the lowest in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) compared to other conference schools competing in volleyball, baseball and both men’s and women’s basketball. Eagles Athletic Director Dave Paur’s 2010-2011 budget was $665,428. That amount was used for many different things, including scholarships for student-athletes, which can include full tuition, housing, a meal plan and books; travel for away games, which often includes overnight accommodations, food and gas to get the team to places as far as Northern Idaho College (a 17-hour bus ride); and recruiting trips to get high school athletes to choose USU-Eastern and put on an Eagles jersey. The athletic program budget isn’t an exact reflection of competitiveness—Coach Brad Barton’s men’s basketball teams have had a better record in the SWAC than any other team. The men’s basketball teams have finished second the past two seasons, and also finished third in the nation two years ago.

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