The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU considers axing men’s track

Athletic director cites financial reasons for cut

Head Coach Dave Wollman and Athletic Director Jim Copeland toldmembers of the men’s track team Wednesday evening that theirteam was to be cut from the university’s athleticprogram.

Junior Hannes Hopley, who won the men’s discus at the 2003NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, said the athleticsecretary called to tell him about the mandatory meeting.

“Everyone knew something was wrong. I mean, they told usto skip class to come to the meeting,” he said.

Sophomore Michael Robertson, who finished third in the 2003 NCAAOutdoor Track and Field Championships and claimed All-Americanhonors, said, “The coach just came in and sat down and toldus the team had been cut.”

Hopley said Wollman was emotional because of thedecision’s short notice. Officials told the coach at 2 p.m.,less than five hours before the meeting.

Copeland cited financial reasons and the lack of a strong fanbase for the decision to cut the men’s team. Thewomen’s track and field team will remain active.

“[Copeland] said they’d crunched the numbers, andtrack just came out on the losing end,” Hopley said.

Some runners also felt the university’s desire to complywith Title IX influenced the decision, referrng to the new additionof the women’s equestrian team.

Title IX is the portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 thatprohibit sexual discrimination in educational institutions thatreceive federal funds. The educational institutions must provideopportunities for both male and female students in proportion totheir respective enrollments.

“They really downplayed the Title IX issue,”Robertson said.

The team will finish out the rest of the season, and members ofthe team agree that they should still try for a strong finish.

“All of us need to get together and concentrate on winningthis year’s NCAA championship,” Robertson said.

The men’s team finished in the top six at the NCAA IndoorChampionships in four of the last five seasons and finished in thetop 10 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in five of the last sevenyears.

Members of the team will retain their scholarships until the endof their athletic eligibility.

Robertson said his future was still uncertain.

“We all just have to block this out. I’mconcentrating on winning the NCAA championship and doing well atthe Olympic trials,” he said.

According to members of the team, Copeland said the finaldecision would be announced Friday after meetings with the Board ofTrustees.

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