Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) has announced a decision to drop its men's and women's tennis programs at the end of this season. The NCAA Division I teams are being sidelined to allow for more athletic funds to be directed to other sports. Help support Coach Alan Leathers by voicing your protest before the final decision is made in April by the CCSU Board Of Trustees.

Below is from a letter written from Coach Leathers to Senator Tom Herlihy which further explains the situation. It is followed by information on those whom you may contact to voice your opinion on this decision. Let them know that Tennis and the people who play are just as important as Football and Basketball.

Dear Tom,

This letter is in reference to our phone conversation regarding the men's and women's tennis teams at Central Connecticut State University. It is important for me to give you a little background to better understand the situation. In early December 2001, Richard Bachoo, the Chief Administrative Officer at CCSU, addressed the athletic coaches meeting and dropped a bombshell that the administration may cut some programs and would decide within twenty days which programs, if any, would be cut. No news was relayed to the coaches over the next two months. Last Friday, February 8, I was brought into a meeting with Richard Bachoo, Charles Jones, and Sal Cintorino and was told that they were going to recommend that the men's and women's tennis programs be eliminated along with the men's swimming program. They informed me that the decision was financially based and was as a result of state operating budget cuts. They will take the money from our "Tier 3" program and put it into "Tier 1" programs such as football and basketball. We currently have 21 programs and subsequently would be reduced to 18 programs if these cuts are approved.

Some issues that I have with this scenario include the following. My current budget for men's tennis is roughly $20,000 including my salary, uniforms, equipment, travel expenses, meal money, etc. Scholarship money available for the men's program is $9,000. On the women's side, the current budget figure is also roughly $20,000, while scholarship monies available is $28,000. These figures relative to a $3.2 million overall athletic budget are obviously negligible. Last year my operating budget was roughly $32,000 for each team and the scholarship money available was the same as this year. So my budget was cut by almost 40% from last year to this year. We certainly have gotten the most bang for our buck considering the relatively small budget. I have talked with coaches from other schools who have cut programs and their "Tier 1" sports have not shown any improvement as a result of minimal increases in funding.

Another issue that concerns me is that the criteria to determine which program to cut are relatively subjective. Just last year a team sport was added to the school and now that the school is looking to cut a program, they pick a sport that has had a longstanding history of success. Our program has historically been one of the strongest sports at the school along with golf. The previous coach, while serving for 22 years, had an outstanding record and was instrumental in obtaining the bubble for the school which was originally purchased for the tennis program. There are five indoor tennis courts in the bubble and its primary purpose has been for tennis use. We also have six outdoor tennis courts therefore provide some of the best combined indoor and outdoor tennis facilities in the northeast.

Another concern especially to my players is the capital budget versus the operating budget. It is very difficult to rationalize the construction of a new Business building, a new student center, a new $5 million football facility, a new $3.1million track facility and new offices for the coaches in Kaiser Hall, while we cut both the men's and women's tennis programs. It is very difficult to justify this to my team members while they see this construction going on around them. I know the explanation that I receive regarding the two budgets but it is still not easy to explain away to the students. My contention is that we should look at the revenue side of the equation versus the expense reduction side. We currently do not have an individual overseeing fundraising. That position is quite possibly the most important position in the athletic department. Fundraising is currently handled by the individual coaches with some support from the Athletic Director.

In closing, over the years I have been involved with countless CCSU alumni where tennis was a big part of their college experience. My doubles partner is a graduate of the school and has fond memories of his tennis playing days at CCSU. It would be a shame to see that tradition dissolved. I know it would be especially difficult for Vic Stone who poured 22 years of his life into the program only to see it eliminated. Thank you Tom for your attention to this matter and anything that you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to talking with you in the near future.

Alan Leathers
Men's and Women's Tennis Coach
Central Connecticut State University

Dr. Richard Judd, President
President's Office
Central Connecticut State University
Lawrence J. Davidson 112
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, Connecticut 06053

Elene Demos, Senior Vice President
President's Office
Central Connecticut State University
Lawrence J. Davidson 112
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, Connecticut 06053

Charles Jones, Director Intercollegiate Athletics
Athletic Office
Central Connecticut State University
Harrison J. Kaiser 131
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, Connecticut 06053

Richard Bachoo, Chief Administrative Officer
Central Connecticut State University
Lawrence J. Davidson 108
John Iamarino, Commissioner
200 Cottontail Lane
Vantage Court North
Somerset, NJ 08873
Phone: (732) 469-0440
Fax: (732) 469-0744
Lawrence D. McHugh, Chairman
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
393 Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457

Karl J. Krapek, Vice Chairman
39 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT 06105

Lynn McD. Hathaway, Secretary
50 Old North Stamford Road
Stamford, CT 06905

Richard J. Balducci
245 River Road
Deep River, CT 06417

Christopher Crampton
Southern Connecticut State University
Brownell Hall, Room 101
114 Farnum Avenue
New Haven, CT 06515

William Detrick
River Highlands
17 Highlands Green
Cromwell, CT 06416

John A. Doyle
375 Copper Ridge
Southington, CT 06489

Theresa J. Eberhard
18 Brittania Drive
Danbury, CT 06811
Shawn McQuillen
Eastern Connecticut State University
Noble Hall G40
83 Windham Street
Willimantic, CT 06226
Joseph A. Mengacci
Drubner, Hartley, O'Connor & Mengacci
500 Chase Parkway
Waterbury, CT 06708

L. David Panciera
135 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105

Ronald J. Pugliese
213 Millville Avenue
Naugatuck, CT 06770

John R. Sholtis, Jr.
4 Hidden Woods Drive
Marlborough, CT 06447

The Rev. John P. Sullivan
St. Joseph Church
129 Edwards Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Mertie L. Terry
589 Main Street
Cromwell, CT 06416

Gail H. Williams
104 Franklin Street
Danbury, CT 06810

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