Maryland's cuts to varsity sports teams are both ridiculous and pathetic
Sports are supposed to be fun. Granted, they take hard work and hours of practice to master, but they're really about having fun. This fun isn't simply limited to the athletes; others cheer on their friends from the sidelines. Sports unite people, promote hard work, and motivate people in a unique way. How could we ever put a price on the lessons that sports teach us?
Well, apparently the University of Maryland (UMD) can, as it will be cutting several sports teams next year, including men's and women's swim and dive teams and men's track and field. Based on current projections, UMD's deficit is expected to surpass $4 million this year. By cutting eight of its 27 varsity teams, the school expects to save between $3.5 million to $5 million a year.
There have been discussions about how at-risk teams can raise the money to support themselves. The M Club, UMD's letter winner's booster organization, has pledged $1 million in an effort to save all teams from being cut. However, according to figures from the University itself, saving these teams would require the eight teams to raise over $29 million total.
UMD is a Division 1 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) school and it's full of school spirit when it comes to sports. According to DiamondbackOnline, UMD's independent school newspaper, Terps are notoriously spirited. Students can be seen walking around campus with Terps gear on a regular basis and football and basketball stadiums are always completely filled during games.
The projected cuts are planned to take effect on July 1, meaning that the teams are safe for the remainder of this year. However, eliminating all eight teams would affect 166 students, according to this year's rosters. There is a sense of community at UMD that is largely based on sports, so cutting sports for the sake of the budget is pathetic. According to a recent press release, UMD spends the least amount of money on sports per student in the country, yet they are still in a deficit.
Fortunately, UMD will honor the scholarships of all varsity athletes regardless of the status of their sport, as well as the contracts of all affected coaches. However, the situation still puts the athletes in an unfortunate position. They've put time and effort into improving their game, and all of their dedication is being tossed to the side. While some students attend college for the experience of being in a fraternity or sorority, others go to be on a sports teams. It is hypocritical that student athletes do everything they can to succeed in their sport, but UMD administrators are not doing everything they can to honor this hard work.
A Harvard study supported that student athletes are also, generally, better students. By cutting eight of its varsity sports, UMD is turning away a minimum of eight years worth of students who may have brought something special to the university, both athletically and intellectually.
The lessons we learn from sports are priceless, yet UMD is attempting to put a price tag on them. The school should give students the chance to raise money and save their sports teams, rather than just deciding to cut them all together. Sports are more than just physical activity, they are an lifestyle.
Janvi Raichura. I am a junior. My life is tennis, debate and SCO. I love singing. My brother is my world. Taylor Swift is probably the greatest song writer ever. I'm loud and goofy. More »