The battle for playoffs

Denny Cristales

Preparing for playoffs is a battle in its own right, according to Dan Clauss.

The Director of Athletics has been busy getting preparations together for playoffs, with the looming situation of a lack of budget hanging over the athletic department’s head making things even busier.

It’s a last-minute affair when it comes to setting up playoff games and getting the necessities in line, as the preparatory work is dependent on sports games’ outcomes.

Meetings to determine seedings for teams, getting referees, getting parking handled with campus police, transportation, hotel setups and injuries all become a factor with playoff planning and, ultimately, the sports budget.

“It’s just a process of a lot of e-mails, a lot of phone calls just to get it prepared,” Clauss said.

The playoff budget usually fluctuates, according to Clauss. The amount used is determined by the amount of teams that make the playoffs.

It’s a problem every year because there is never a clear indicator as to how many teams will make the playoffs. The more teams, the more spending.

It’s an issue currently now that the athletic department has run out of its championship budget. Now, Clauss has to vie for more money with ASCC.

“The first thing I’m working on is checking if we have the correct amount of money,” he said. “You never know how much money you need for playoffs because you’re never going to know who’s going to make it. It just happens to be another one of those years where every team in spring made the playoffs, so I have to double check my budget and adhere to the rules.”

The process is frustrating for Clauss, as it’s a back-and-forth affair with ASCC to see if he needs the extra money or not.

It’s a problem easily solved if the athletic department had just more money to work with in the first place, he noted.

The fall season “hammered” the budget, as teams like women’s soccer and wrestling had big travel expenses because they made it so deep into the playoff competition.

If the department had an extra $10,000 to work with, Clauss said it would make everything run much more smoothly.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “That’s why I went and requested an extra $10,000, and (ASCC) denied it, because if I had about ($30,000), it would always cover us. We would never go over that, I don’t think. But every year I’m always on that border. I’m always trying to squeeze and get it down. But if I had like ($30,000), I would always be giving money back, because I could handle the playoff preparations underneath that.”

Now that the department is out of its championship budget, Class has to check if he has enough to send softball to its string of playoff games against College of the Canyons.

Regardless, he thinks he’ll figure it out.

“It just takes me a lot of scrambling, a lot of me running around as fast as I can to get approval for different things,” he said. “If the money was there, then I just wouldn’t have to worry about it. I worry about it every single year, that’s the frustrating part. We’ll never not send our team to the playoffs.”

The expenses will allow the team to gather things for scoreboards, field setups and other things for playoff preparation.

Despite the big playoff shuffle, Clauss enjoys the work.

“It’s actually fun. That’s what athletics is about and it’s the fun part of my job.”