An interesting story about the University of Maryland, which is proposing the closing down of eight teams, including Men's Indoor & outdoor track & field and the Men's cross country programs. The teams have been told, that if they raise endowments by June 30, 2012, to give them budgets for the next eight years, they will survive. It will be a tough task in these economic times.
Perhaps part of the answer lies in the the private fund raising plan that will be used to rebuild the former President's Home....that, is a good message to the athletes of the eight teams facing elimination at the University of Maryland. Read on for my modest suggestions....
Imagine my surprise when I was sent the following article regarding the University of Maryland. You remember the University of Maryland. That is the program that recommended the elimination of Men's Indoor track & field, Outdoor track & field and cross country, along with five other men's and women's teams, in order to overcome a deficit that could approach $17 million, if changes were not made soon in their overall sport budgets. Of the teams on the chopping block, five sports teams were men and three were women.
Soon after this proposed cut was announced, the teams got to work and began private fund raising. University President Wallace Loh had noted, that if they could provide private funding by June 30, 2012 for the next 8 years, the sports could survive. A tough challenge, but, the offer was there.
Track & Field is the sport that gives more men and women opportunities for higher education than any other sport. Track & Field is one of the sports that, along with soccer & swimming, have some of the highest average GPAs of all student-athletes. Track & Field is also the sport that gives more men and women of color a chance at higher education. Surely, as one coach so eloquently phrased it, the 8 sports in question were not the only reasons for the UM athletic department budget overrides.
The article of note shows that the Presidents' home will be rebuilt, as it is not a proper site for fund raising! And, as the budgets were cut to the university, a private group, will handle the fund raising to rebuild the Presidents' Home. Please read the story:
President Loh is in a tough spot. The President's home is a symbol where the University benefactors judge the entire University. A suitable home is needed. We would like to offer a modest suggestion: As part of the private fund raising for the President's home, why not support the building of an endowment to be shared by the eight proposed to be cut sports? Think of how many student athletes, especially especially young men and women of color who gain access to the world through their education, both in sports and in the classroom, at university?
Many lessons are being taught in this series of situations. Some are good, like self reliance, some, I fear, are not, like blaming the quietest persons in the room. Surely, the eight teams to be cut are not the sports most responsible for the over runs. Yet, they are faced with extinction. I am not sure that is fair.
Perhaps the fund raising team approach one of Maryland's prized corporate supporters of collegiate sports, such as a company based in
Baltimore, that is launching a running line, and makes tremendous sports apparel, to support an endowment to keep college athletes running, jumping and throwing?
An even more modest suggestion: It would take a lot more guts from a University president to say, that they would not even consider building a new Presidents' home until the future of several of their most historic sports programs are decided. But, sometimes, I am told, that I live in a dream world.
To learn more about the cuts at the University of Maryland, please read the following:
To learn more about how the eight teams are doing to raise their endowments, please read the following: