Students planning ahead for the holiday travel season know that it can be expensive. But imagine the costs for a whole football team, coaching staff, and all their equipment travelling.
“Big Sky Conference limits you to 58 players who can travel,” said associate athletic director, Dr. Don Ross. “I think our travel party ends up being 78 because we take equipment managers, coaches and the student athletes themselves.”
The expense budget covers a lot more than just transportation. The budget also takes in account meals, extra baggage fees, hotel rooms, and room and board for the vehicle driver if the team travels by bus.
Last year’s football travel budget of $271,053 took up 11.3 percent of the EWU football team’s $2.4 million budget, a decrease from what it was in past years.
The athletics department has been pinching pennies to make up for the decrease.
Eastern dropped their player per diem rate from the state rate of about $46 a day to $32 a day.
They have also stopped taking commercial flights to Idaho State University and instead ride the bus for 13 hours to Pocatello, Idaho.
Even though they totaled 7,171 miles last year, the team’s most effective cost-cutting technique is when they are lucky enough to have away games at Missoula, Mont., and the annual Qwest field game. Both which are less than 300 miles away.
“Before, there was a little more flexibility in going to Arizona, flying down to California,” said Ross. “Now, it’s more limited to playing local schools as much as we can.”