Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rumors of Possible Cuts at University of Delaware

It's just a rumor, but there is apparently some concern that the University of Delaware may trim its sports offerings to exclude the men's cross country and track teams.

Title IX has, of course, entered into the discussion. Whenever one sex receive disproportionately more athletic opportunities than the other, Title IX effectively says you can't cut from the side with less (doing so brings you out of compliane with both of the alternative compliance prongs). So, since men make up 42% of the UD student body, but receive 53% of the athletic opportunities, UD can't cut a women's team without violating Title IX. But does it have to cut teams? There's no official word on whether or why this might be done. No one is challenging the UD's sports offerings under Title IX, though the UD may be feeling pressure to add another women's team -- golf has been mentioned -- in order to bolster compliance with either prong two or prong three. More likely, it is the economy and the high cost of running other sports programs that are putting financial pressure on UD's athletic department. UD is in the same D-IAA football conference with UNH and JMU, which both cut teams in 2006, as well as Towson State, which cut its cross country team in 2004. So it's possible that UD is enduring similar financial pressure due to the high cost of operating a football program that does not have the opportunity to occaisionally recoup costs at a bowl game. Probably due to the football team's strength -- it regularly competes in the D-IAA tournament and was the champion as recently as 2003 -- it is looking to maintain or even bolster its financial investment in the program. Whether this will come at the expense of 115 runners remains to be seen.