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At Least Eight Teams Could be Cut from UMd. Program

Athletic Department budget deficit forces university into difficult decision.

President Wallace Loh of the University of Maryland announced Monday that a minimum of eight athletic teams could be cut by July 1, 2012 to address a multimillion dollar operating budget deficit in the university's athletic department.

Those teams are:

  • 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
  • women’s water polo

The recommendation was made by a commission that Loh charged in July with examining the financial woes of the athletic department. The commission’s report also suggests increasing fundraising efforts.

According to the report, there has been a major drop in fundraising revenue, and athletic teams have been bringing in less net revenue over the years. (See the charts with this post.)

The department regularly tapped into its own reserve funds over recent years, but that source is now dry, according to the commission’s report. The Diamondback reported that this year, the department borrowed $1.2 million from the university.

The department now faces a $4.6 million deficit in the department's operating budget for fiscal year 2013.

By cutting the teams and administrative costs, and reinvigorating fundraising activity, the commission expects the university will be able to invest almost $35,000 more per student-athlete in fiscal year 2013 than it does currently. This would rank UMd. sixth among ACC institutions by this measure. Currently, UMd. ranks 13. (See charts with this post.)

The University Senate Executive Committee and the Athletic Council is expected to respond to the commission’s report by Friday.

Here’s what everyone’s saying about the situation. (This list will be updated continually.):

The Diamondback

Reporter Lauren Redding said that as painful as the decision might be, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s been a long time coming, she wrote. Redding suspects the issues were born with former Athletic Director Deborah Yow’s push to expand Maryland’s athletic program. The funds were stretched too thin, Redding wrote.

President Wallace Loh

Loh released a statement Monday: “As I read the report, my thoughts were on the student-athletes and coaches of these teams, individuals who have dedicated so much of their lives to competing and coaching in their chosen sport at the highest level. As the parent of a student-athlete, I understand the very real anguish this recommendation occasions.”

Athletic Director Kevin Anderson

“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 told The Washington Post.

Terp Talk

Bruce Posner, host of the Terp Talk sports show, wrote on the Terp Talk blog Monday evening that it was a sad night for College Park. “I assure you, kids of the [eight] teams love Maryland, their teams, and their sport as much as any student-athlete. They are heartbroken tonight. I assure you from my knowledge of Kevin Anderson and Dr. Loh, they are also heartsick tonight. But these are the harsh realities of today’s economy.”

Washington Post Columnist

Tracee Hamilton of The Post wrote that those who created the problems aren't the ones who will have to fix them. "Back in the days when the economy was booming and everyone seemed to have money — remember that? — former athletic director Debbie Yow was adding seats and suites to Byrd Stadium, additions no one but the most optimistic thought the Terps could sell out. She was betting on a bright future for the football program that never really materialized."

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