The University of Maryland has one of the largest varsity sports programs in the nation. But more than 100 of the school’s student-athletes are about to lose the teams they’ve trained so hard to be on because of some big financial problems.
University President Wallace Loh released a statement that says a 17-member commission has recommended eight varsity teams for elimination to cut its debt.
I recognize that the recommendation to reduce the number of intercollegiate sports is distressing and saddening to the student-athletes, their families, coaches, and supporters. My intention is to not unduly draw out this time of uncertainty. However, this is a most difficult situation that demands the most careful consideration.
The teams recommended for elimination include the men’s indoor and outdoor track teams; men’s cross country; men’s swimming and diving; women’s swimming and diving; men’s tennis; women’s water polo; and aerobics and tumbling. In addition, the commission has called for a renewed fundraising effort and a ten percent reduction in athletic department costs, to make up for the department's $4.7 million budget deficit.
Ultimately the final decision about which teams and how many will be cut falls to Loh. But Athletic Director Kevin Anderson says the decision has been equally tough on him.
“Besides a relative dying, this has been one of the worst times in my life, having to face these young people and tell them of the possibility of us discontinuing their programs,” Anderson said in a telephone interview with the Washington Post.
All teams will compete through the end of the 2011-2012 season and any cuts made would take effect July 1, 2012.