Wednesday, May 14, 2008
ASU Cuts Athletic Programs
Yesterday Arizona State University announced the end of three men's athletic programs. The sports on the chopping block were men's swimming, tennis and wrestling. However, they somehow managed to save diving despite dropping the men's swimming program. While budget reasons were given for the cutbacks, all removed programs had to be male due to Title IX regulations.
Too many men's Olympic sports have gone the way of the dodo bird. No prestigious program is safe either. UCLA knocked off its men's swimming and gymnastics programs, two teams consistently in the running for NCAA titles. I can see the appeal of pouring all of the men's athletic budgets into big media sports like football, basketball and baseball though. I am sure top performing teams in those areas equal greater general student interested and increased enrollment, meaning more money for the school. It just hurts to see schools stuck in a vicious cycle of funneling all revenue back into the same programs in order to make them grow, while in turn neglecting the real needs of an institution. Turning your back on the core structure that got you through to where to you stand, does not make for a lasting relationship. I don't see these economically challenged institutions sustaining high level programs in the future, since their ineptitude lead to improperly balanced athletic budgets in the first place.
I seriously feel great sorrow for the ASU program. For a bit of time I had a roommate who was an alumni of their men's swim team. In the past I visited friends at the school, swam in their pool and enjoyed the hospitality of their team. Aside from my own USC crew, I really enjoyed the ASU team atmosphere. This whole thing just blows chunks.