Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Private Funds Giving Dropped Sports Hope; Work to Be Done, but Duval AD Optimistic Four Might Be Saved

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Private Funds Giving Dropped Sports Hope; Work to Be Done, but Duval AD Optimistic Four Might Be Saved

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

Usually this time of year, Duval County athletic director Jon Fox is working on schedules for next year and preparing for vacation.

Not this year.

The Duval County School Board instructed Fox on May 27 to seek fund-raising from private sources to help fund the sports the board will likely cut when it votes on its final budget this summer. Those varsity sports - cross country, golf, tennis, wrestling, lacrosse and slow-pitch softball - as well as junior varsity soccer will only survive the budget crunch with financial help from the community.

The board requested Fox start a foundation. In time, he will. For now, he's trying to save the eliminated sports.

"I've met with leaders of the golf community this week, as well as tennis, cross country and lacrosse," Fox said. "I'm very optimistic after these meetings that all four of these sports will be saved. We're not there yet, but each group truly understands our plight. I'm feeling much better than I was. It's been heartwarming and gratifying. These were very fruitful discussions."

Fox says there have been no funds promised from the groups in terms of specific amounts. In all, the cuts involving high school sports amount to $445,298 in coaching supplements. However, that figure is based on all 17 Gateway Conference schools fielding a team in each sport. The figure also factors in an assistant coach, which isn't always needed at a school that has low participation in a sport.

"I think somewhere around $381,000 would do it," Fox said. "The people I met with needed to go back and meet with their groups to come up with their fund-raising plans. Some wanted to contact individual people of interest in their particular sport. It's being done in a variety of ways, but nothing firm has happened yet because we just met this week. …

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