University of Maryland president Wallace Loh said Monday morning he supported a committee's recommendation to cut funding for six of the school's athletic programs, which would eliminate eight teams. But he also supported a recommendation to kick off a fundraising campaign to support the cut programs with donor funds.
After July 1, 2012, the University of Maryland will no longer have teams in men's cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track, men's swimming and diving, men's tennis, women's acrobatics and tumbling, women's swimming and diving, and women's water polo, according to the budget plan endorsed by Loh.
In his statement, President Loh wrote that the savings made by cutting these programs would be invested in Maryland's other athletic programs. "Our teams are among the most thinly funded in the ACC on a per student-athlete basis. To continue to make deep cuts across all programs -- to impose a democracy of pain -- is not the path to excellence."
The president did give his endorsement to a fundraising blitz called the "Save the Programs Campaign." The cut teams would be given the chance to raise 8-years of total program costs by June 30, 2012. The recommendation would commit two of the university's senior development officers to the campaign.
The University of Maryland's athletic program faces a $4.7 billion budget shortfall. A commission was formed this year to come up with a plan to balance the athletic department's budget. The recommendations to cut the 8 teams was officially presented last week to President Loh, who has ultimate decision-making authority for the budget.
The swimming and diving teams formed a non-profit to save the programs. Save Maryland Swimming and Diving Inc. will campaign to raise the necessary funds to keep the teams afloat.
Contributions can be made online or by mail to Save Maryland Swimming and Diving Inc., PO Box 30957, Bethesda, MD 20824.