Saturday, April 25, 2009

MIT cutting 8 sports

MIT announced yesterday that it will cut eight varsity sports from what was once the largest (tied with Harvard at 41 sports) roster of intercollegiate sports in the country.
Citing current and forthcoming budget issues (the institution as a whole is looking to save close to $150 million in the next few years), the athletic department and student life jointly presented the decision. At the end of this year men's and women's ice hockey (sniff), gymnastics, wrestling, golf, Alpine skiing, and pistol. (I know that looks like only seven; I assume that another one of the listed sports has a men's and women's team thus equalling eights squads total. But even the NYT didn't pick up on the this-doesn't-equal-eight listing. Oh wait--it's gymnastics according to the AP.)
The announcement was not a surprise within the MIT community. Rumors of some cuts have been around for a few weeks now. Factors that went into the decision included coaching turnover, student interest, practice facilities, competitive opportunities, and overall program costs. (The cuts are expected to save just under $500,000.) No specific mention of Title IX concerns (student interest could loosely be considered a Title IX issue). We shall see if that becomes an issue.
With 33 remaining sports, MIT will remain the largest intercollegiate program in Division III and no further cuts are expected. The institution is urging affected student-athletes to join or form club sports.