I was surprised to open up the Let’s Run homepage today and see the name of my undergraduate Alma mater featured front and center. Turns out the University of Richmond, which I attended from 1993-1997, is cutting their indoor and outdoor track and field programs and the men’s soccer program to make way for a men’s lacrosse team. Here’s a local news report describing the situation:
The Richmond T&F coach indicates in the video that if Track and Field is cut, cross-country will die out shortly thereafter. I find this disturbing as both an alumnus and a college professor because Track and Field athletes are often models of the ideal scholar-athlete (the XC coach at my college of employment has been trying for years to add a varsity Track and Field program with little luck). Indeed, in the text of a petition put together by the team, they indicate that in Spring 2011 the UR track team had the highest team GPA all DI outdoor Track and Field teams. It is a sad reality that college sports are often driven more by decisions revolving about revenue generation and enrollment than the achievements of the student athletes, and this seems to be a perfect example of that.
I write this post to encourage you to head over and support these student athletes by signing their petition to save the sport, the text of which is below:
On September 21st, 2012, University of Richmond Athletic Director Jim Miller informed the members of the University of Richmond Track and Field program that the University would be cutting the men’s indoor and outdoor Track and Field teams. These cuts were made in order that the University could add a Men’s Lacrosse team. The Richmond Cross Country/Track program has been the epitome of what the NCAA promotes as Student-Athletes. We have succeeded both academically and athletically. The following are just some of the accomplishments by the Richmond Cross Country/Track and Field program over the past few years.
Spring 2011- Highest Team GPA all DI Outdoor Track and Field Teams
10 consecutive years on USTFCCCA All Academic Team for Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track
2010- Qualified for NCAA XC Championships
2010-Top 25 finish in the NCAA
2010- Atlantic10 Cross Country Champions
Please sign this petition and vocalize your concern to the University community at large, to raise awareness and hopefully reverse this decision. Thank you for your support.
They are aiming to get 10,000 signatures, and currently they are only about 500 signatures away from that goal. I have signed, and I hope you will to.
To sign the petition, click here.