New EMU president Smith talks athletics

Eastern Michigan University named Dr. James M. Smith its 23rd president in the school’s history Friday afternoon in a special Board of Regents meeting.

During the media press conference following the meeting, Smith addressed a multitude of questions including the athletic department and the reported 83 percent subsidy it received from the general fund.

“That’s not a comfortable number for athletics, that’s not a comfortable number for the president and that’s not a comfortable number for the regents,” Smith said. “That being said, one doesn’t fix things like that in a day. It will take time. The best way the to see that happen nationwide is to get larger and larger donor bases to support athletics. I have not met with the athletic director but I have to believe that she understands that and she understands the importance of that.”

Smith continued to discuss what his intentions for what the possible solutions could be used to close the gap.

“It’s hard to charge $300 for a ticket in the Mid-American Conference. It’s not in other athletic conferences so the ticket price is not going to be answer,” Smith said. “The answer is going to be doing foundation work, doing gift work and committing former athletes and supporters of athletics to really give and bring that number up on the athletic side and down on the general contribution of the university.”

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