COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Cutting popular sports. That’s the proposal at the University of Maryland College Park to solve some serious budget problems.
As Weijia Jiang explains, students and alumni are not going down without a fight.
If these proposed cuts go through, eight varsity Terrapins teams will be completely slashed, upsetting many students and alumni.
“Students aren’t happy about it,” said Staci Armezzani, UMD Student Government Association.
The commission tackling the athletic department’s financial crisis recommends the school cut eight of its 27 varsity teams, including men’s cross-country and track and field.
“I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live and that’s what this program meant to me,” said Kyle Rauser, former UMD track and field member.
Rauser remembers winning the ACC 4 by 4 gold medal in 2009. He graduated as the captain of the team and says it would be devastating to see the program go.
“Track and field made me the man that I am today,” Rauser said.
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, men’s tennis, women’s water polo and acrobatics and tumbling could also be chopped.
Last year, the athletics department had to borrow $1.2 million to cover costs. The deficit is expected to surpass $4 million this fiscal year. Getting rid of the teams could save between $3.5 and $5 million a year.
But student leaders say you can’t put a price on school pride.
“We’re such a sports-heavy school that cutting even one sport is something no one likes to hear about or think about,” Armezzani said.
In a letter to the community, the university president says, “The prospect of reducing teams has been discussed in past years but it makes it no less painful. As I read the report, my thoughts were on the student-athletes and coaches of these teams. As a parent of a student-athlete, I understand the very real anguish this recommendation occasions.”
Right now, three advisory boards are going over the report. The president asked for recommendations by the end of the week. He will then make a final decision.
All varsity teams will compete through this school year. Any cuts would take effect on July 1.