By Jennifer Belcher & Lauretta Closser
Sports Editor & Online Editor
Students have been prohibited from participating in the Athletic Departmentâ€™s monthly fundraisers for years, but a Cuestonian investigation revealed there is no legal backing for this practice.
Staff members thought the contract between the department and the cafeteria vendor, Horta Food Services, prevented students from contributing to the athleticâ€™s barbecue booster.
When originally asked about the ban, Merlynn Foppiano, assistant for the Vice President of Administrative Services, said: â€œAthletics is aware that they cannot compete with the cafeteriaâ€™s ability to earn an income; there is an exclusivity clause in their contract.â€
However, after The Cuestonian obtained a copy of the contract and investigated the matter it was revealed that there was nothing in the contract preventing the Athletics Department from selling the food to students.
After the information was relayed to Foppiano, she said: â€œOur past cafeteria contracts have had exclusivity clauses in them. Â I was not aware this contract did not have exclusivity.â€
The department holds the booster barbecue in order to help fund equipment and supplies for Cuesta sports teams, but has only allowed staff to participate â€” severely limiting the amount they could potentially raise.
Last year the Athletic department reported that they only made an estimated $10,000.
â€œOut of respect for the cafe, we didnâ€™t want to step on anyone’s toes,â€ said Bob Mariucci, the director of the Athletic department.
But now that students are able to participate with no questions asked, the Athletic department has the potential of making more money.
The Booster â€” which features whole smoked chickens and full racks of baby back ribs from Tognazziniâ€™s Dockside Restaurant in Morro Bay â€” Â are available for pickup the first Monday of every month from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Parking Lot 1.