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Foreseeing program cuts

TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
edited March 2013 in Athletic Recruits
I am regularly saddened to hear of colleges and universities cutting certain sports from their athletic programs, especially in those awful cases where they eliminate existing, successful teams in order to introduce a brand new sport to the school.

We know recruits who have been caught up in a mess like this. Does anyone have any thoughts on how a parent might anticipate the possibility their prospective athlete's sport of interest might be cut by a school their S or S is interested in?
Post edited by TheGFG on

Replies to: Foreseeing program cuts

  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
    TheGFG asked....Does anyone have any thoughts on how a parent might anticipate the possibility their prospective athlete's sport of interest might be cut by a school their S or S is interested in?

    TheGFG,

    I think each situation is unique, and there is no way to really protect yourself other than keeping your ears open with the rumor mill.

    We recently had a situation here in Richmond, VA. The Univ of Richmond quickly pulled their D1 soccer & track program in favor of a lacrosse program. The students & alumni did everything they could do to save the program but the Adminstration did not change their minds. It was political and it was monetarily motivated from what I read and heard. I have no kids that go there. I felt very bad for the UR student/athletes as it still is a very divisive issue right now. I really think the best you can do is to network with other parents and athletes and ask them directly about the future of the program.

    As I've written here many times before, I think college sports will be going to a 100% self funded model. In the case of UR, I think it was money and Title 9 that played a hand in this decision.
  • varskavarska Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    A non-revenue sport in which I used to compete was dumped shortly after the football program hired a former NFL coach to the tune of several millions dollars. The cut took everyone by surprise. So I'd be wary if huge expenditures are being made in sports other than your own.
    Also, in a state university system run by a state teetering on bankruptcy, every sport is on thin ice.
  • 5amriser5amriser Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    Understanding that there is no way to anticipate how an administration would make its decision to cut or invest in a varsity program, I tend to take the overall financial shape of the institution into consideration when evaluating a school. This is probably not the best approach and should only be one of the criteria. However, as someone who has been in higher Ed for 20 years, I can tell you that the current financial state of an academic institution and the state (if it's a state school) would impact the options the administration has in everything, including plans for varsity program. This is especially relevant for state schools.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    Actually, the Richmond case was the one which sparked this thread! I never would have anticipated such a thing there, I guess because it's a private school and it seemed to have a decent budget, judging from the fact that I was aware of kids from our state who received nice track scholarships. Was there any advance warning?

    The coach of my D's school told us their team was largely self-sustaining due to several major invitational meets they hold each year. He also told us they have great alumni support. If he hadn't volunteered that information, I don't know that I would have thought to ask it back then.
  • MAswim2014MAswim2014 Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    As a parent of a junior looking at D1 swim programs, this definitely scares me. His father's Ivy league swim team was on the chopping blocks years ago but the alumni helped save the team. Watching the Univ of Maryland team go down was down right depressing especially considering the caliber of swimmers they had and the top-notch facility. It would be nice to see a checklist of questions that would help alleviate the fears of choosing a college where your sport could potentially be cut.
  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
    This issue was not something that was on our radar when my son was being recruited 3-4 years ago. It is something I would add to the list today, but frankly not something I would worry too much about since there is little that can be done.

    There was one school (public D1 in-state Ivy) that offered my son that was not fully funded (in NCAA scholarship terms) at the time. Their baseball field was off campus, and the benefactor has not seen a successfully run program in a long time. If I was considering a program like that, I would ask a lot of questions and hope to get some answers. Incidently, son was recruited at Univ of Richmond and they were telling us about a planned new baseball clubhouse, indoor hitting cage, and lights for the baseball field. None of those three things are in place 4 years later. Bottom line....there are no guarantees in the coaches sales pitches or the program's future or longevity. Trust but verify.

    I think in the case of the Ivys, they are well represented across many sports. I've been told every sport at my son's school is self-funded in terms of the coaches salaries, operating expenses, etc.... Ivys average 35 sports per school....that is a lot of student athletes. I don't see something happening at an Ivy that happened at Richmond where a sport is taking the place of another sport, because the Ivys are well represented across so many sports. At other schools, I think you could see an alumni or large benefactor step in to introduce a new sport at the expense of some existing sports (a la Univ of Richmond). Let's face it, some of these non-revenue sports need large infrastructures or land (or both) in place to operate the sport. Swimming pools, tennis complexes, tracks, soccer fields baseball and softball fields are expensive and sometimes they are sitting on valuable real estate that could make a nice Engineering & Robotics building for example.
  • maidenMommaidenMom Registered User Posts: 875 Member
    D was looking at Berkeley and talking to coaches (lacrosse) the year before they lost their legs (before being spared) - that was an oh NO moment for so many and ship jumping ensued. She ended up at a DIII program as a freshman this year - they are getting by it seems.
  • schoolhouseschoolhouse Registered User Posts: 267 Junior Member
    I think any parent in a non-revenue sport should have some concerns, my D is at D1 as a fencer and outside of having a coach recruit exclusively outside of the country overlooking homegrown talent and giving those select spots to imports which are controlled/manipulated until their eligibility is used up is more of an issue. I think having the funding manipulated by a coach, who fails to see the connection between the football/basketball teams NCAA and bowl appearances and TV network, is the biggest failing especially his program 100% funded by people who like to see names like Jones/Smith/Brown and Black.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    Stanford looks like a safe bet for athletes, not that we wouldn't have thought so. The school is in the news for their highly successful fundraising:
    Stanford is 1st college to raise $1B
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    Towson follow suit after neighbors Richmond, JMU, UMDBC, and UDEL in cutting athletic programs:

    TU will reinstate men?s tennis, discontinue men?s soccer and baseball | News
  • etondadetondad Registered User Posts: 1,122 Senior Member
    Women's programs are somewhat better situation bc of Title IX. Unfortunately football sucks so much money and other resources that non-revenue sports--esp men's-- fall by the wayside. It is a crying shame, but it is a fact.

    Unfortunately the coaches themselves maybe the last to know that their sport (and job) is slated for removal. So it is a difficult thing to know. The only thing to do is to read and listen carefully--not to coach but to the college's administration-- if they start sounding/acting anti-athletic then watch out. But even that may not be enough--Brown caught a number of teams unaware a few years back-- it was only after lots of push back that the Simmons said that she was going to shelve the idea for the next president-- but even then she told admissions to reduce the number of "slots" regardless-- so Brown has teams but not great players-- which will merely mean that she will, in the end, get what she wants.
  • werewolfwerewolf Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    That's harsh on the coaches, isn't it?
This discussion has been closed.