Colleges Cut Teams and Budgets

In an article published in the New York Times, colleges and universities across the country are slashing millions of dollars from their sports budgets, including the elimination of sports teams. Of the 17,682 teams that competed in the NCAA in 2007-2008, the NCAA expects about 130 teams to be eliminated.

The article singled out the following Institutions cutting sports: the University of Cincinnati eliminating track, cross-country and swimming; Stanford University eliminating fencing; the University of Massachusetts eliminating its ski teams; Kutztown University eliminating men’s soccer and men’s swimming; he University of Washington eliminating its swimming teams; the University of Maine eliminating men’s soccer and women’s volleyball; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology eliminating alpine skiing, competitive pistol, golf, wrestling and men’s and women’s ice hockey and gymnastics.

“We just couldn’t make cuts across the board anymore,” said Blake James, the athletic director at the University of Maine, explaining why his department cut its men’s soccer and women’s volleyball programs. “We were bleeding our programs to death.

The growth in college athletics has made it harder to cut back during lean times because of resistance from students — especially those with athletic scholarships — their parents, alumni, sponsors and civic boosters.

“There’s great pressure on schools to win,” said John Cheslock, who teaches at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. “If I’m an athletic director and I drop a sport, I’m going to have everyone who plays the sport angry at me, as well as parents and former athletes and donors.”

Additional cuts in college athletics can be found at the Ultimate Sports Insider blog.