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

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Dreams cut short

OP/ED
 Dreams cut short
Dreams cut short

Dreams cut short

My commendations go out to the Ed Board for its classy farewellto the men’s track and field program. As a member of thewomen’s team for the past four years, I can say that the losshurts the women’s team as much as the men’s. We sharethe same coaches, practice together and essentially are oneteam.

Over the past years I’ve spent at SMU, I can attest to thegenuine bond between all members of our team and these men willtruly be missed. These men work year-round training at theirevents. It’s more than just the 20 hours per week that theNCAA allows them to spend with their coaches at official practices.Track and field requires a lifestyle commitment.

It is a shame to put a roadblock in the paths of the dreams ofthese young men who have Olympic aspirations.

One reason cited by the athletic department for the cut in theprogram is the lack of a fan base. These men have a fan base.

Many of you can claim one of them as your friend or classmate.You always ask them how their competition went over the weekendafter they missed a Friday class and how our chances look forwinning in the Western Athletic Conference.

I can’t name how many times a friend or classmate hasasked me when we will be having a home meet. I have to sadlyrespond that we will never have home meets, save a few informalcompetitions in the throwing events.

The fact that our athletic department has decided to cut themost successful program at our university (the team finished thirdat the 2003 outdoor NCAA Championships) is a travesty in itself,but to ax the program for the reasons of not having a fan base andnot bringing in revenue are poor ones.

We have no revenue because we can’t host competitions. Wecan’t host competitions because our track was built in anarea that is too small to extend the straight-away to make it longenough for a 100-meter dash. It is no fault of the athletes or theincredible coaches who train them. They work their hardest 365 daysa year and achieve national rankings.

Why can’t the athletic department find enough money tomake our facilities sufficient for us to support ourselves?

Why can’t they build up a successful program that isalready there?

The fact is that the men’s track team has been nationallyranked the entire time I have been at SMU. There have beencountless NCAA champions in this program as well as manyOlympians.

Why cut a sport simply because it lacks funding?

Suspicion has been raised that the cut is due to Title IX, butthe athletic department says there are financial reasons forcutting the team. What this says to the student body is that itdoesn’t matter how good an athletic team is, but rather howmuch money it makes for the university. This is not the kind ofreputation any athlete or alumni of SMU wants their university tohave. It forecasts a tragic fall in sports at SMU.

The task of rising to the high level of Division I competitionis left on another Mustang team that is less adequately preparedright now. Teams that do not perform well do not bode well forrecruiting. Poor recruiting leads to less than stellarperformances. Non-winning records cause the fan base to diminish.No fans mean no revenue. The cycle is endless.

The athletic department owes the student body a clearexplanation with no details left out as to why track and field waschosen to “take one for the team.” Especially, whenthey have been more successful than any of the so-called”revenue” sports in recent years.

 

Amanda Henkes is a senior chemistry and Spanish double major.She may be reached at [email protected].

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