College Corner: Long Beach State shifting budget strategy

There’s nothing simple about the way Long Beach State is budgeting. Athletics Director Andy Fee used the theory of a zero-based budget to get attention from the hiring committee two years ago, and now that’s how The Beach is figuring out its funds.

“It’s very complex because there’s so many different variables,” Fee said of the new budget system that is rare for large institutions. “A zero-based budget basically means you build your budget every year. It’s been a departure from the typical government budgeting cycle. It’s a little different and people get a little nervous, but I always say ‘Look at who I am and what I’ve done’ and hopefully that makes a difference.”

While most colleges budget their entire athletic department at the beginning of each fiscal year based on the available funds, the zero-based budget means that availability can change season to season. With zero-based budgeting, a program can adjust on the fly and be flexible, while a traditional budget doesn’t allow for that to happen because all of the money has already been allocated.

One downside of a zero-based budget is that the successful programs on campus will continue to have bigger budgets because they’re able to raise more money, which could eventually leave the less successful teams on campus with smaller budgets every year. However, Fee said if that were to happen, a zero-based budget would be the only way to quickly and efficiently move funds to those struggling programs.

We sat down and talked to Fee and LBSU men’s volleyball coach Alan Knipe about the unique budget last week on The LB Fee Show podcast.

“It’s one of the biggest things to happen to our athletic department,” Knipe said. “It’s going to help us coaches in every area possible. It’ll allow us to schedule better opportunities for better student-athletes experiences.”

Fee said shifting funds has allowed the department to provide things like the new Taraflex playing surface for both volleyball teams in the Walter Pyramid.

“The model we had for a long time gave us a small amount of money that was very unrealistic and usually about 45 percent of what we’d spend in a year,” Knipe said. “We would have to fill it in on the back-end all year long and hope that we had enough money and fundraising to cover the budget at the end of June. It’s not a lot of fun being in the middle of the season on a trip and thinking about how we’re $10,000 light in fundraising and how are we going to make it up when we get home.”

You can listen to our full conversation with Fee and Knipe here:

Game Of The Week

Long Beach City College football is opening its conference schedule at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. when it takes on East Los Angeles College. The Vikings (3-2) are coming off a bye week after taking the Crosstown Cup from rival Cerritos College in a 36-24 win. Last year, LBCC lost 20-13 at East Los Angeles.

Local Boys Leading The Way

Long Beach Wilson High alums Tyler Schafer and Hunter Epson are part of the reason the LBSU men’s golf program has improved so rapidly under second-year coach Michael Wilson. Schafer shot a 10-under par at the Allister MacKenzie Invitational last week, as the sophomore led LBSU to a fifth-place finish. Epson was named the Big West Men’s Golfer of the Month for September after an individual title at the Nick Watney Invitational. The senior shot 68 or lower in four of the five rounds he played last month.

LBCC Men’s Water Polo Still On Top

The No. 1 Vikings (18-0) stayed undefeated and atop the California junior college rankings thanks to the efforts of Jose Loubriel. LBCC was trailing Golden West 11-8 in the fourth quarter of a Riverside Tournament game last weekend when Loubriel scored three goals to lead his team to victory.

The freshman from San Juan, Puerto Rico finished with a game-high six goals and has 37 goals in 17 games played for the Vikings.

LBCC is hosting its Alumni Game at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

LBSU Women’s Tennis Hosts Tournament

Sadaf Sadeghvaziri may end up being one of the most important players for LBSU women’s tennis this season. The junior from Tehran, Iran went 7-0 for her team last weekend at the Beach Tennis Fall Tournament to win the Flight B singles and doubles titles with partner Lalita Devarakonda.

In collegiate tennis, the doubles point and No. 2-3 singles games usually give one team an advantage in close dual matches. If the lineup stays the same for the Big West Conference, Sadeghvaziri is going to be involved in a lot of those points.

LBCC Women’s Volleyball Winning Streak Ends

The Vikings (11-6, 6-1) had their eight-game winning streak snapped in conference play by El Camino (12-4, 7-0), Wednesday night. LBCC was led by a season-high 21 kills from sophomore Brooke Earkman.

The Vikings travel to Mt. San Antonio College on Friday.

Laramie Scoring For LBSU Women’s Soccer

Sophomore Elysia Laramie has now scored three of LBSU’s 11 goals this season, and all of them have come in the last three Big West Conference games. Because of her natural talent and strength, Laramie has played both forward and defender during her time at the Beach.

“It’s kind of been a challenge playing forward since I’ve been playing back so much,” Laramie said. “But it’s fun and I want to do it for my team so I’m just getting the hang of it.”

LBSU hosts UC Davis at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.