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MD athletics has a huge budget deficit


OregonBird

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I mentioned this in the Edsall "True Fans" thread. While I think it's all Debbie Yow's fault they're in this situation, I don't see Kevin Anderson getting us out of it (short of a big fat check from Kevin Plank). And this puts even more doubt in my mind that Edsall could be replaced before his contract expires, no matter how bad things remain.

Ultimately they are going to have to cut some sports. And with apologies to some of the student-athletes at UM, they never should have ballooned to a 27-sport department in the first place. Thanks again, Debbie.

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Maryland poised to drop swim teams, among other sports

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are bracing for Maryland to drop their programs as part of a cost-cutting move following a meeting with Athletic Director Kevin Anderson, according to two people with knowledge of the meeting.

Groseth said in a telephone interview that he was told swimming is among as many as eight to 10 sports identified for possible elimination at Maryland. That’s roughly one-third of the department’s offering of 27 sports.

Very unfortunate, but necessary.

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Why should it be necessary?! This is far worse than 'unfortunate'. (I don't mean to pick on your post; just using it as a springboard to voice my disappointment.)

This is a sad day for Maryland sports! The State school of Maryland is dropping as many as 8 to 10 sports??!! The University of Maryland is dropping swimming??!!

Let me explain why this is so preposterous.

I've got more coming.

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Here are some excerpts from the student-athlete profiles for the swim team:

named a PST National Merit Semi-Finalist ... earned Scholastic All-American Swimming honors three times ... was a Special Olympics swim instructor ... member of the National Honors Society and Model United Nations ... majoring in engineering.

awarded the Connecticut Association of Schools Award of Excellence ... earned high honors in high school ... majoring in engineering.

member of the National Honor Society...volunteer assistant swim coach...Relay for Life Participant...came to Maryland because of the school's great academic and athletic reputation...

attending Maryland for great swimming and Chinese program... majoring in chinese.

...mother was a swimmer at the Rochester Institute of Technology...attending Maryland for academics... majoring in computer engineering.

...two-time Scholastic All-American... ..chose Maryland because of its great academics and great swimming team...comes from a long line of accomplished swimmers at Seton Hall Prep...

...2009 Academic All-American... earned a 4.1 GPA in high school... a biology major.

...plans to major in aerospace engineering and wants to become an Aerospace Engineer at Boeing.

Before Maryland: Swam for Clemson University.. (I include this because he probably was given a waiver to leave Clemson when Clemson announced they were phasing out swimming.)

...2012 Olympic Trials Qualifier.....Member of the National Honor Society...Lists biggest sports thrill as making the Olympic Trials.

...member of Spanish National Honor Society... majoring in aerospace engineering.

...named Academic All-American by USA swimming. chose Maryland because he liked the team and for the school's academic reputation...his great uncle Arnie Risen is an NBA Hall of Famer...hopes to become a doctor after college.

2008 BEIJING OLYMPIC TRIALS COMPETITOR ...named a scholar-athlete while at Wootton High School..

...maintained a 4.0 GPA through high school...member of National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society..

...plans to teach high school history after college.. Secondary Education/History major

2010 and 2011 Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic....USA Swimming Scholastic All-American......named to the academic Honor Roll 11 terms...chose Maryland because of its coaches, swimmers, academics, and facilities...plans to coach college swimming in the future.

...EGHS Scholar and Honor Roll member.....chose Maryland because of the `great team atmosphere and coaching staff, awesome facility, great sports teams and academics'...

Okay. That's the men's team.

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...three-time all-conference, All-Ohio and All-American...Academic All-American......Ohio High School Athletic Association Green and White Award winner...Mason High School Green and White Award in 2007 and 2009...also competed with Cincinnati Marlins...was a Scholastic All-American......Summa Cum Laude at WMHS...graduated in top 10 percent...National Honor Society...named Outstanding French Student...class vice president for two years...

...earned Academic All-America honors....lists her major as elementary education... member of the National Honor Society..

...Gold Key recipient...took a mission trip to Guatemala in 2008...attending Maryland for excellent academics and athletics...majoring in General Biology.

...member of Student Council and National Honor Society and a volunteer for the United Way.

...Maryland Swimming LSC Senior Athlete Representative......Scholastic All American.....was President of National Honors Society...received the Principal's Award...finished in the top 5% of the Wilde Lake Class of 2010...Howard County General Hospital ICU volunteer...Johns Hopkins High School Intern in Pediatric Cardiology...majoring in Biological Sciences

...plans to go to medical school after graduation...major is Biology.

NCAA National Championships Qualifier. ...member of National Honor Society and student body president at Wilde Lake.

...two time USA Swimming Academic All-American....father attended Maryland...twin sister, Caelin, also attends Maryland...2009 Maryland Distinguished Scholar Honorable Mention...three year staff member of high school newspaper...chose Maryland because of the beautiful athletic facilities and natatorium, the team, the coaches, and the fantastic Journalism school...

...member of National Honor Society and was a volunteer coach for the NWSRA, a swim team with team members that are mentally handicapped.

...National Honor Society member, Scholastic All-American and earned Rye Scholars Award...logged over 75 hours of volunteer service tutoring children, working swim meets and volunteering at homeless shelters...major is Journalism.

...High Honors four years in high school...two-time Scholastic All-American...lists her craziest ambition as becoming the President of the United States...Political Science major.

Before Maryland: Graduated from MSSUOR No. 3 in Moscow in 2008. Personal: ...one of two international members in the Maryland swimming and diving program.

NCAA Honorable Mention All-American... (This probably means she finished between 9th and 16th at NCAA Championships) ...a four-year member of Upper Dublin's environmental education club..

...attending Maryland for the outstanding athletic and academic programs.. majoring in biology

...graduated in the top five percent at Sherwood, boasting a 4.46 gpa...earned scholar-athlete award... majoring in Kinesiology.

...made Honor Roll all four years of high school...received the Gradell English Award...compiled 40 hours of community service through volunteering at a retirement home and helping out at diving competitions...attending Maryland because of its perfect combination of school and sport...majoring in Physical Science

... member of the Business and Marketing Honor Society of New York State ... named to the USA Swimming Academic All-American Team in 2010 ... volunteer at the Henry Viscardi School for Physically and Emotionally Challenged Children ... hopes to be a pediatrician some day ...

So there you go. There's a sample of the types of young men & women who will be forced to go away from the University of Maryland if they want to compete in their sport while in college.

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"Succeeding academically is of primary importance to everyone in our athletics department," said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. "This core value is something we take seriously. Although we're proud of these record-setting numbers, we will strive to continually improve in this area."

"Kevin made it very clear when he brought me here that our student-athletes' academic success was a top priority for him," said Chris Uchacz, associate A.D. for academic services and career development. "Our staff has worked very hard over the last year to improve our processes and support. We are starting to see the positive results of these changes manifested in the GSR scores released this week."

Nineteen teams at Maryland earned GSRs at or above 80 percent. Women's swimming and water polo had 100 percent GSRs in the cohort. The wrestling team achieved a 92 percent GSR and was the highest-scoring men's team at Maryland.

http://www.umterps.com/sports/ascdu/spec-rel/102511aaa.html

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So there you go. There's a sample of the types of young men & women who will be forced to go away from the University of Maryland if they want to compete in their sport while in college.

So given the mounting deficits, what would your solution be? As for the student athletes in the affected sports, they usually have two choices:

1) Stay at UM, where they can keep their athletic scholarship while pursuing their degree, even though they don't compete.
2) Transfer to a school that offers their sport, and if they secure a scholarship or spot on the team the NCAA waives the 1-year sit rule and they don't lose any of their remaining eligibility.

Like I said, it's unfortunate for each one of those student-athletes, but short of some generous benefactors writing big fat checks I don't see what choice UM has. That said, the University of California was set to disband its baseball program and the players successfully worked to raise funds to keep it alive for the short term. The difference is Cal was able to keep it for the long term because the Pac-12 scored a huge TV deal starting next year. I doubt the ACC will be able to up its TV deal enough (with the additions of Pitt and Syracuse coming) for UM to make up for the projected deficits without making cuts. Of course this can also be traced back to the football hire they made, but I digress...

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So given the mounting deficits' date=' what would your solution be? As for the student athletes in the affected sports, they usually have two choices:

[indent']1) Stay at UM, where they can keep their athletic scholarship while pursuing their degree, even though they don't compete.[/indent]

2) Transfer to a school that offers their sport, and if they secure a scholarship or spot on the team the NCAA waives the 1-year sit rule and they don't lose any of their remaining eligibility.

Like I said, it's unfortunate for each one of those student-athletes, but short of some generous benefactors writing big fat checks I don't see what choice UM has. That said, the University of California was set to disband its baseball program and the players successfully worked to raise funds to keep it alive for the short term. The difference is Cal was able to keep it for the long term because the Pac-12 scored a huge TV deal starting next year. I doubt the ACC will be able to up its TV deal enough (with the additions of Pitt and Syracuse coming) for UM to make up for the projected deficits without making cuts. Of course this can also be traced back to the football hire they made, but I digress...

When looking at any potential financial woes for the University as a whole, the Olympic sports that are in trouble are not the problem. They are the victim.

The financial nervousness for the University as a whole, that in turn become pressure for the athletic department to be even more 'self-sustaining' come from:

  • A significant loss in the value of the university's current endowment and reserves due to the poor economy.
  • A threat to public government funding for education due to the poor economy
  • The threat of a drop in booster and alumni fundraising efforts due to the economy.

In the case of the swim team, there are ways to run a team that helps pay for itself through community programming. But the business model for the Eppley Center doesn't appear to afford the coaching staff that opportunity.

At UMBC, for example, the Head Coach oversees and the coaching staff coordinates, coaches, and runs programs including a club swim team that, I'll guess, has perhaps 250 year-round swimmers (that's just a guess at team size.) Gross revenue from the club team is perhaps $250-$300k. (Again, just a ballpark guess for the sake of throwing a number out there.)

At College Park, the Aquatics Center is run completely separately from the team. Instead of using the expertise in aquatics programming that the coaching staff offers to help alleviate the cost of running a college swim team, they charge the team a rental fee... adding to the cost of running a college swim team.

I have to say that again: I'm sure there is a ton of community programming going on in that pool. There has to be. But none of that revenue is going to the athletic department. Instead, the athletic department is billed by another branch of the University for their practice space. And the entirety of the coaching staff salaries are paid by the athletic department while the athletic department can't use their expertise to earn revenue. (EDIT: I don't pretend to know all the details; just reaching broad conclusions based on a couple sentences in a couple articles. And I'm sure the athletic department may get something from the coaches managing a summer season competitive swim camp.)

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If I'm interpreting your post correctly, then the solutions you propose can only come from legislative changes made by State lawmakers, not anyone at UM. And I'd personally be OK with that, but I'm also not a current MD resident and public support for that may be hard to come by in a terrible economy and state budgets that are already strained to the max.

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