WSU interim leader: Golf team could go, university needs a ‘Dr. No’

Wright State University needs a “Dr. No” to prevent overspending that interim president Curtis McCray said may force the college to eliminate its men’s golf team as more budget cuts and layoffs loom.

WSU needs someone who is not afraid to turn down financial requests that led to the university’s overspending, McCray told the Dayton Daily News in his first interview as the college’s temporary leader. Wright State’s overspending and resulting budget issues may also be the result of administrators “falling asleep,” when things were going well, McCray said.

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Wright State is expected to spend nearly $40 million more than it brought in this year, according to a financial forecast.

“It seems to me there’s been no Dr. No here,” McCray said. “In the past, if I’ve made commitments that were unreasonable and couldn’t be sustained, I had someone who said no, we’re not going to do that. ”

McCray became interim president a little more than a week ago after David Hopkins abruptly resigned after 10 years. Cheryl Schrader will become Wright State’s seventh president on July 1.

WSU officials have been trying to implement a budget remediation plan for months but McCray said they have been unsuccessful.

“None of it happened. There was no remediation,” McCray said. “If I’d been here I could tell you (why).”

McCray’s contract requires him to right WSU’s finances while maintaining the college’s “core athletic programs at a NCAA Division I standing.”

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That could mean cutting the university’s men’s golf team, McCray said.

“Well, the AD has talked to me about that and the AD has mentioned golf,” McCray said. “It’s apparently a program where we don’t have as many students and if we eliminated the program the impact on Division I status would not be there. We would still retain our Division I status.”

Wright State officials have to cut $25 million from the school’s fiscal year 2018 budget and boost reserves by $5 million, McCray said. McCray will present something of an outline of budget cuts to the board of trustees on April 7 and will further specify cuts by the end of April, he said. He would not say exactly what or how many people could be cut but he did say some employees may have to take a reduction in salary.

Wright State laid off 23 employees in October.

“We obviously are looking at anything that’s nonhuman that can be cut… we start there,” McCray said. “But, we’re going to have to look at homo sapiens as well. There’s no doubt that some people who have been enjoying, properly I’m sure, their salaries, will take cuts.”

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McCray has experience in dealing with financial issues, but “not in the magnitude” of Wright State’s. While at California State University Long Beach, he oversaw around $33 million in cuts imposed by the state legislature, he said.

“This is a little harder because most of our problems, not all of them, but most of our problems we’ve created by ourselves,” he said.

To fix WSU’s budget woes, the university will need to both cut costs and boost revenue by upping the number of students enrolled, McCray and other officials have said. It will be tough to increase enrollment, McCray said, because the financial problems will in turn cause “reputational problems,” but not ones the university won’t eventually overcome.

“We’re going to live through it because we’ve got good stuff,” McCray said. “We’re here. We’re a permanent part of the state. We’re going to survive and we’re going to come out and do it even better.”


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Exclusive Interview

Wright State University’s interim president, Curtis McCray, sat down with the Dayton Daily News for his first interview as the college’s temporary top leader. This newspaper is your only source for information about the ongoing budget issues and a federal investigation into activities that took place at Wright State University.

By the numbers

Wright State University is facing looming budget cuts and layoffs as officials prepare to correct the college’s financial problems.

$40 million: The amount of money WSU is projected to spend over what it brought in this year.

$25 million: The amount of money that must be cut from the university's fiscal year 2018 budget.

$5 million: The amount of money the university is aiming to increase its reserves by next year.

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