Athletics to eliminate 7 intercollegiate
J. Fitzgibbons, Chronicle staff
Athletic Department this week announced the planned elimination
of seven intercollegiate teams at the end of the semester, a move
intended to save $1.1 million.
The cuts, which
were outlined Monday by interim Chancellor Marcellette G. Williams
and athletic director Robert Marcum, will affect women's volleyball;
men's and women's water polo; men's and women's gymnastics; men's
tennis; and men's indoor track and field. The dropping of those
programs at the end of the academic year will reduce the number
of campus sports from 29 to 22.
The cuts will
affect 136 students of the 800 varsity athletes on campus. Four
full-time head coaches, two full-time assistant coaches, and four
part-time assistant coaches will be eliminated.
coach Roy John-son and women's gymnastics coach Dave Kuzara will
be laid off and the vacancy created by the resignation of women's
volleyball coach Bonnie Kenny will not be refilled. Women's water
polo coach Donna Heinel, who is also an assistant swimming coach,
will lose two-thirds of her salary. Judy Dixon, who coaches both
the men's and women's tennis teams, will lose an assistant coach.
The cuts will not affect men's indoor track coach Ken O'Brien, who
coaches men's cross country or men's water polo coach Russ Yarworth,
whose appointment is as swimming coach.
Williams and Marcum
said the cuts will allow the campus to reallocate some scholarship
funds and also remain in compliance with Title IX and exceed the
proportionality requirements of the law.
They said by funding
22 intercollegiate sports, the campus will still exceed the national
average of other major public institutions. The national average
for Division I public institutions is 18 sports.
the necessity of making this announcement," said Williams in
a prepared statement. "This decision in no way reflects on
the dedication, passion, and abilities of the many people who have
contributed to these sports over the years. The sports involved,
the coaches involved, the alumni, and the student-athletes who will
be affected have contributed greatly to the life of the University."
said, "Given the financial situation in the Commonwealth and
a budget cut of nearly $17 million to the campus in the current
fiscal year, we had to make this regrettable move."
has been to build a top rate Division I athletic program for the
Commonwealth," said Marcum. "The resources made available
by the University, the Board of Trustees and the state, have enabled
us to fulfill that charge, both academically and athletically. Due
to the current budgetary crisis that the state and the University
are facing, we received a mandate from the University to reduce
the program. We have done that with the goal that the remaining
programs will be stronger and more competitive. We fully understand
what is taking place financially throughout the institution, and
that the reduction in athletics is just one of many reductions being
out that among all public institutions in the nation, only Ohio
State, with 35, has more sports than UMass.
Marcum said that
sports were selected for elimination based on a variety of factors.
These included the national and regional health of the sport, Title
IX participation considerations, facilities issues, the overall
strength and success of the sport at UMass, in-state versus out-of-state
participation, and the financial resources that would be required
to bring the sports to a more competitive level in the future. In
evaluating the programs, certain criteria were in direct conflict
with other criteria. In some cases, win-loss records and post-season
success were outweighed by other factors, Marcum said.
impacts a lot of people," Marcum said, "and we sympathize
with those athletes and coaches who have given so much of themselves
to the University and the Athletic Department." He added that
to assist with the transition, existing athletic aid that student-athletes
in the affected sports are receiving will be extended for one additional
year (the 2002-03 academic year). For those choosing to transfer
and to continue their athletic careers at another school, he said,
"We will do everything in our power to assist them through
The steps were
backed by President William M. Bulger: "We believe this action
will allow the Amherst campus to maintain the athletic excellence
that has become its hallmark. I am confident that in concentrating
and focusing our efforts in this manner, the result will be greater
stability and greater success. I would also like to emphasize to
the current student-athletes and coaches, as well as those who are
considering coming to the University in the future, that we are
committed to strengthening the remaining programs and ensuring they
are able to be competitive in the future."