Does spending money equal success? The New York Knicks own the National Basketball Association’s worst record, 20-54, despite having league’s the highest payroll ($120 million). In the Bronx, the New York Yankees have consistently spent more than any other baseball team and have consistently won.

To say the Stags are like the Yankees of their respective leagues would be a stretch, but their fiscal expenditures seem to follow a similar pattern. According to the 2001-2002 Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), which each school must file to satisfy NCAA regulations, Fairfield spent $8,241,475 on total athletics. This placed them first among schools that are a part of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), to which many of Fairfield’s sports teams belong.

The most recent statistics show that Fairfield was in third place in the MAAC after spending $8,302,022 on total athletics in 2004-2005. The total accounted for roughly five percent of the university’s total expenses according to the school’s tax forms. Fairfield now trails Rider University and Loyola College of Maryland, who spent $8,433,482 and $8,349,270, respectively.

“Spending does not always translate into success,” said Fairfield Athletic Director Eugene Doris. “For example, within the MAAC, all men’s basketball programs have the full complement of scholarships. Yet some programs have been more successful than others.”

Rider’s men’s basketball team was the worst team in the MAAC, while its women’s team finished in a tie for last place. Iona, which won the conference’s men’s basketball automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, was in seventh place on the spending list, using $6,620,005.

However, when Fairfield defeated Ohio State in men’s lacrosse on May 1, 2005, Fairfield’s men’s lacrosse program was spending more money in operating expenses ($119,740) than Ohio State’s program was ($87,955).

“At times, we have been defeated in championship competition with teams having fewer resources,” Doris said. “What it` does mean is that the MAAC has become more competitive and that winning is not a given. Saying that athletic spending has essentially stayed the same is not a negative because the resources are sufficient to be a writing program.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Reed, whose office supervises the athletics department said,” money is also not the answer always to whatever you may want to achieve.  Strategy, management, effective execution of a plan and efficient use of resources are often just as important, if not more so. Money may put you in position to be able to try some things, but I’ve seen plenty of places with less do more.”

Fairfield’s new plan for athletics, outlined last month, will help make sure that all athletes feel appreciated. The planned elimination of the tier system will surely change the way the athletic department funds different teams in the future.

Student reactions are mixed about the way money was spent on athletic programs.

“I don’t think any more money should be spent out of tuition on athletics,” said Anthony Monelli ’06. “The current resources should be redirected in such a way as to improve competitiveness and foster a greater connection between the student body and athletics.”

Ben Zanghi ’06 also felt that spending is only necessary if it contributes to the status and prominence of the university.

“I think that it becomes a business decision for Fairfield,” said Zanghi. “I haven’t done the math, but I do know that the goal of any university would be to gain competitive advantage and prestige among other good schools, such as ranking high on TIME Magazine’s college rankings. This, in the end, gets students better jobs, etc.”

Others thought that the department should spend more money, especially on less recognized sports.

“I think they should spend more of the budget on the hockey and soccer teams,” said Matt Tramonato ’07.

Said swimmer Bridget McKeon ’06: “Our team would greatly appreciate seeing some money allocated to things like its own locker room or better advertising of sports events. We are a Division I Varsity league and should be looked at in comparison to the other teams and what they are doing, especially in the MAAC.”

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