DAVIS, Calif. (CBS13) — Student athletes who were sidelined when four sports programs fell victim to budget cuts are raising allegations of financial mismanagement and threatening a lawsuit.
The UC Davis Office of the President says an independent investigation cleared administrators of any wrongdoing in the process that led to the end of men’s swimming and diving, wrestling, indoor track and field, and women’s rowing at the end of the last academic year. Many of the student athletes who filed a grievance against the school for the decision rejected the conclusions.
Zach Hansen, a former swimmer in the UC Davis program, said school leaders are out of touch and said the decision to cut the sports was made in secret, “violating many of our own procedures.”
“They did it behind closed doors, and the people who were supposed to be involved were kept out,” Hansen said.
He said some students are now considering a lawsuit against the university on the grounds that student funds aren’t being handled properly.
Hansen cited the $4,000 price tag on the new office furniture and carpet for the school’s associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator as an example. UC Davis officials say the director changed offices to handle new responsibilities and called the cost typical for an annual renovation.
“There’s new carpet, there’s new furniture, they threw out the old carpet and old furniture the previous person used for several years,” Hansen said. “Apparently he didn’t have a problem with it.”
Some students said they are concerned that more budget cuts for next year could put more athletic programs on the chopping block again.
School officials won’t know how much they have to cut from their budget until state lawmakers pass a budget for the coming year.