Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recommendations for cuts in at Maryland

The recommendations for how many and which teams will be cut from UMD's athletic department came faster than we expected. And it seems like President Wallace Loh will make his decision, based on the committee's recommendations, sooner than he had planned as well. (He initially said he would decide by the end of the year.)
So, as expected, men's and women's swimming and diving is on the list. Six other teams join them: the entire men's track program (a total of three programs), women's water polo, and acrobatics and tumbling.
The last was particularly interesting. Maryland was the first institution to elevate its cheerleading team to varsity status, calling it competitive cheer. This seemed to be the watershed moment for competitive cheer, which now goes by several names depending on which governing body a team aligns itself with. I would imagine this is kind of a blow for competitive cheer. We predicted that competitive cheer would be embraced by many schools because administrators view it as a somewhat cheaper way to add opportunities for women. Does this move by Maryland signal that administrators are also going to see the sport as easy to drop when things get tight?
As the WaPo article notes, these decisions are not final. Loh must make them official. I imagine he will not draw things out and do it soon.