Brianna Loo

The Yale Athletic Department proposed a new budget for the upcoming year that will increase its sports medicine staff by at least two full-time trainers, should it be approved by the Office of the Provost.

Director of Athletics Tom Beckett met with Provost Ben Polak and the University Budget Committee on Friday in the department’s annual meeting to present the budget plan for the 2017–18 academic year. The department has been plagued by understaffing in recent years, failing to meet its recommended number of full-time athletic trainers as specified by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Beckett told the News in a Feb. 20 interview that he began to see a need to increase the sports medicine staff in the last three or four years, as student athletes have increased the frequency of their training. Though he said a final decision has not been made about the staffing increase, Beckett called the meeting with the provost “a good session.”

Beckett also said the Athletic Department will soon make an offer to fill the position of assistant athletic trainer Richard Kaplan, who is retiring at the end of the academic year.

Yale athletes have complained that the understaffing of sports medicine has led to lack of departmental organization and long wait times for injured students to receive care. According to Beckett, if the department’s plan is accepted, the sports medicine staff will grow to 13 certified licensed athletic trainers, 12 of whom will be full-time.

Still, under NATA’s Appropriate Medical Coverage for Intercollegiate Athletics specification, Yale would still come at least a trainer short of the organization’s recommended number, which is based on factors including number of varsity athletes, travel dates and injury-risk calculations for individual sports.

According to head athletic trainer Jay Cordone, Yale most recently calculated its AMCIA number during the 2014–15 school year. Using statistics from that year, Yale’s AMCIA number is 14.34, meaning Yale would need 15 certified athletics trainers to meet the NATA recommendation.

The Yale Student Athlete College Council, founded two years ago to advocate to the administration on behalf of athletes, said in a statement that it welcomes the increase, which it believes is essential to the success of the Yale sports medicine.

“YSACC is hopeful that Yale will start to provide the appropriate level of training and physical therapy necessary for the approximately 850 varsity athletes,” the group said in a statement.

Beckett explained that the budget process is not as simple as requesting funding for new positions, as the Athletic Department’s funding comes from a variety of sources.

“It involves income that comes from mother Yale,” Beckett said. “It involves income that comes from endowment yield. It involves income that comes from annual fundraising. It involves funds that comes from ticket sales, sponsorships, golf course revenue, tennis center revenue and rental of our fields and facilities.”

According to Beckett, Polak meets with all departments on a regular basis to discuss changes in budgets. Calling it “normal procedure,” Beckett said each director at Yale has the chance to present his or her department’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year before a budget committee.

Polak did not respond to a request for comment.

Beckett, in his 22nd year at Yale, is the longest serving director of athletics in the Ivy League.