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UMD President Endorses Plan To Cut 8 Sports Teams

Eight University of Maryland sports teams are tasked with raising eight years' worth of operating costs in less than a year.
Matthew Britt (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbritt00/6176358565/)
Eight University of Maryland sports teams are tasked with raising eight years' worth of operating costs in less than a year.

A committee recommendation to cut funding for eight sports teams at the University of Maryland has garnered the support of university president Wallace Loh, according to a press release from the university (pdf). Loh tempered this announcement by supporting a measure from the university's athletic director that teams be given the chance to raise eight years' worth of program costs by June 30, 2012.

"Our teams are among the most thinly funded in the ACC on a per student-athlete basis," says Loh in a statement. "To continue to make deep cuts across all programs -- to impose a democracy of pain -- is not the path to excellence."

Loh faced a deadline of Dec. 31 to make his decision, but says he made his decision early to give teams as much time as possible to prepare for the changes.

Last week, it was revealed in The Diamondback -- University of Maryland's student newspaper -- that a university commission charged with reducing the $4.7 million budget deficit in the athletics department recommended to cut funding for eight teams: men's cross country, indoor track, outdoor track, tennis, and swimming and diving teams, as well as the women's acrobatics and tumbling, swimming and diving, and water polo teams.

The cuts, which would go into effect July 1, 2012, would affect as many as 166 student athletes and 12 coaches.

Students at the university have created Facebook pages with tens of thousands of supporters and collected thousands of signatures on petitions -- but it appears that things will boil down to dollars and cents. In accordance with Title IX, men's and women's teams are paired, and are either cut or funded together. According to projections by Athletic Director Kevin Anderson (pdf), the swimming teams would have to raise $11.5 million, the men's track and women's acrobatics would need to raise $9.4 million, and men's tennis and women's water polo need to raise $8 million.

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