Saturday, April 13

Indian River State College records reveal financial red flags prior to eliminating women’s basketball team

In the two weeks since Indian River State College announced it was eliminating its womens basketball team, WPTV has learned through public records requests more about the circumstances leading to the decision.

When the team was initially informed of the decision on March 18, they told WPTV they were blindsided by the news. A school spokeswoman said it was a cost-cutting move that came at a critical junction in which all athletic programs were under scrutiny.

The womens basketball team was cut as the womens volleyball team was moved down a division, allowing the school to pay out less in scholarships. The e-sports team was eliminated months earlier.

The newly-obtained records from IRSC show that the womens basketball team was among the costliest of all the athletic programswith operating costs only outpaced by the womens softball team. According to the schools annual Equity in Athletics Disclosure survey, the womens basketball team accrued more than $97,000 in operating expenses during the fiscal year ending in 2023more than 20% higher than those of the mens basketball team.

Spending on sports was also outpacing the money coming in to fund it. IRSC’s Annual Report of Student Activity and Service Fees, which pay for student athletics, reported a loss of more than $62,000 at the end of fiscal 2023.

This was the first loss that appeared in the five years student activity fee reports provided by the school.

And according to the most recently available fiscal audit, published in March 2023, the schools unrestricted net position, meaning money that wasnt tied up in assets or other financial commitments, was more than $30 million in the red at the end of fiscal year 2022, and a $7 million improvement from the year before.

WPTV also reviewed emails among school administrators.

In an email from Athletic Director Scott Kimmelman dated Feb. 6, more than a month before players and coaches were told the team was folding, the subject line read: Womens Basketball Discussion (CONFIDENTIAL).

I met with Chief Financial Officer Marvin Pyles to discuss my recommendations moving forward with the Womens Basketball staff in the coming weeks, Kimmelman wrote.

Kimmelman was not immediately available for comment.

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