Go ahead Robert Morris. Cut your athletic teams with minimal costs, winning records, and high academic achievements so you can save some money for your “high-profile” sports. Robert Morris University has made the decision to save money by cutting out 7 athletic programs, two of which include the men’s cross country and track and field team. The money RMU will save by cutting 80 of 560 athletes will go to increase the amount of scholarships allotted to other athletes, make facility upgrades, and deal with increased travel and recruiting budgets.
RMU’s men’s track and field team is coming off an incredible season. Last year they were third in the Northeast Conference (NEC), they won the highest team GPA award, and they had a nationally ranked javelin thrower. The cross country team is also coming off a remarkable season. They finished second in the NEC and had the NEC freshman of the year. It should not come as a surprise that head cross country AND track and field coach, Michael Smith, has won the NEC Men’s Track and Field Coach of the Year two times. Most recently Coach Smith won the NEC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. The list of success goes on and on, but the elephant in the room remains. Come May, there will no longer be a men’s XC or track and field team at RMU.
RMU Men’s and Women’s Track and Field team celebrating at the NEC Championships last season.
On the U.S Department of Education’s website they list information about athletic costs for all institutions. Game day expenses for the football team total at $394,922. For the men’s track and field team the total game day expenses are a whopping $12,257. Football and basketball combined at RMU bring in around $2.77 million in revenue. A large contribution is also made by all other men’s sports; together they bring in around $2.78 million. It takes an outstanding amount of money to run an athletic department; however, cutting athletes out of the program completely is not the only solution to make ends meet. Consider the budget sequestration in 2013. It reduced United States federal government spending by making budget cuts across the board and not just a couple of departments. Why not cut budgets of all sports a little bit and keep everyone around? The solutions are limited, but they still exist. Unfortunately, RMU has decided to take the easy way out and cut 7 teams out completely.
RMU is giving the athletes the option to keep their current scholarships or transfer schools next year. Even with this “help,” many of the athletes are asking themselves, “What are we going to do now?” Nobody plans for this when they sign a scholarship. Dreams are becoming nightmares, hearts are being broken, and the future is uncertain for the athletes being cut at RMU. They have dedicated countless hours in the classroom and on the track (court, field, etc.) to compete for the Colonials academically and athletically and here is how they are being thanked.
I know we all joke about how underrated our sport is and throw out a little #trackprobs, but it truly is a sad reality. Once again track and field gets shafted.
Show your support for RMU Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country by signing the petition: