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Empowering Excellence - Jim Bartko's vision for Fresno State

AD Jim Bartko shares his vision of Empowering Excellence for Fresno State Athletics

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Newly appointed athletic director laid out his vision for empowering excellence at Fresno State earlier today detailing a five-point plan that will be directed to "Achieve Highest Standards, Strengthen the Pack, Build Our Home Field Advantage, Expand Competitive Opportunity, and Swell the Red Wave". What was somewhat shocking in his powerpoint presentation was where Fresno State currently stands within the Mountain West Conference in terms of revenue and contributions. The Bulldogs currently rank 8th in the MWC in revenue which generated $33,734,773, nearly less than half than the top school. While Fresno State ranked slightly higher in contributions at 6th in the conference with $4,823,268, which was still far less than half of the top school. Obviously, Fresno State has some work to do to stay competitive in the conference let alone becoming a desirable option for the Power 5, which seems to be the dream of so many.

In an effort to maintain relevance in the ever changing landscape of college sports, the Fresno State athletic department is planning to increase their athletic budget by "roughly $3 million" according to the school, for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The increases will go directly to full cost of attendance for all Fresno State student-athletes, which will allow the Bulldogs to remain competitive on the most basic levels with the Power 5. Supplemental meals and a training table for all student-athletes will be budgeted at $500,000, while the remaining budget will be allocated for a proposed staffing increase.

Plans to upgrade the woman's soccer and lacrosse competition area will move forward within the fiscal year, as well as upgrades to the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center and Warmerdan Field. Renovations to Bulldog Stadium will also be seen during the next season. A three phase plan is expected to improve the training center, press box, sky boxes, parking, tailgating, scoreboards and the sound system sometime in the foreseeable future. AECOM, a technical and management support provider, based in Los Angeles, has been hired to do a 90 day analysis of Bulldog Stadium to give a comprehensive report that will include revenue opportunities and development costs.

Wrestling and women's water polo will be added to expand Fresno State's competitive opportunity, a 9-12 month timeline has been set culminating with the hiring of coaches and signing of new recruits between December 2015 and February 2016. This proactive forthcoming report will be the hope to give Fresno State the financial swell needed to carry out it's plan. The train is about to leave the station and the school wants us all aboard before it moves into full motion, making today an exciting time to be a part of the Red Wave.