The Collegian
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

"Politics and Money" took precedence in track decision

As a member of the women's side of the track and field team, the termination of men's track and field hits me deeply. The elimination of the men's soccer program is also very disappointing.

I feel that the board of trustees does not comprehend the full effect of its decision. These athletes chose the University of Richmond so they could be student-athletes.

Student-athletes. They chose this school because they could get a great education while simultaneously playing the sport they love. Now, many people are being forced to decide between leaving the university that they have come to know and love, and giving up a sport into which they have invested so much time and effort.

The juniors have had their final year of competition taken from them.

The underclassmen are debating whether or not to transfer -- many students gave up scholarship offers at other institutions to lend their athletic abilities to Richmond.

The high school students that have already committed to run track and field or play soccer are having to reevaluate their college choice.

It is sickening to think that a university that prides itself on academic achievement would cut a team that had the highest GPA in the nation two springs ago. The cowardice that was displayed by the athletic department and the Board of Trustees infuriates me.

The decision was hastily made in a span of two days. There was not even a whisper that such decisions were being made until Friday morning. That afternoon, the teams were told they would no longer exist.

The men's soccer team had a game at 7 p.m. The men's track and field team is in the middle of its season.

The Board of Trustees and athletic department must consist of non-athletes, because anyone that has ever played a sport knows that sports are 80 percent mental. This was a huge blow to the morale of both teams.

Also, neither Jim Miller nor President Ayers were seen supporting the men's soccer team at its game on Friday.

I am saddened that men's track and field and men's soccer have been cut in order to add a team that would attract "a certain demographic." A school that has been working so hard toward greater diversity has just taken two giant steps back from that goal.

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Richmond constantly boasts about its "worldliness." The addition of the Carole Weinstein International Center and having the top international business school in the nation have helped add to this image.

Removing men's soccer and men's track and field, two of the most-popular sports in the world, retracts greatly from this image.

The athletic department is arguing that the track team won't have as hard

of a time because they "still have cross country." This shows the ignorance they have about the sport.

Anyone that has ever been a part of the running world would know that track and field and cross-country are intertwined. Recruiting will be nearly impossible.

To put it into perspective, it would equivalent to recruiting someone to play basketball on a team that was only allowed to play one game per year.

Also, the men's track and field team operates on no athletic scholarships. Men's soccer has eight. Lacrosse is expected to roster 40 players.

I would like to see the math the athletic department did to come to the conclusion that this was the right decision. I am disappointed to see politics and money take precedence over hard work and academics.

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