South Carolina State is facing such budget issues that a South Carolina House of Representatives budget committee has voted to shut the university down.
The budget panel voted Tuesday to close the university on July 1, 2015. It would re-open in 2017 after a two-year closure. As part of the shutdown, all athletic programs, including football, would be suspended.
The plan needs to pass the South Carolina House and Senate. The school faces a $10 million deficit and just 14 percent of students graduate within four years.
House budget writers said they were frustrated the school sought $6 million from lawmakers this year to pay off a state loan given last year. S.C. State also is receiving another $12 million from the state to help with crisis.
S.C. State leaders said they could not cut curriculum, faculty or athletics, Merrill said. Then administrators suggested $50 million in new funding over the next few years to improve the school’s academic programs.
Those spending plans lacked specifics, Merrill said, and that sent panel members to a boiling point.
“We are looking at a bankrupt institution,” Merrill said. “There seems to be unwillingness to make the cuts that are necessary. ... No one takes any pleasure in recommending this.”
South Carolina State competes at the FCS level in college football. It played Clemson this year and lost 73-7. It is not on the schedule for either Clemson or South Carolina in 2015.
Last season, the Bulldogs went 8-4 and 6-2 in the MEAC. It was one of four teams that ended the season tied at the top of the conference.
According to The State, students with a 2.5 GPA could get scholarships to attend other public state schools or historically black schools.
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