The University of Maine is cutting two varsity sports this year: women’s volleyball and men’s soccer. Economic woes are behind the cuts. Losing these two programs will save the department, which is being required to participate in its share of the school’s overall budget reductions, $600,000 next year and $900,000 down the road.
Interestingly despite what looks like equal cuts: one men’s team, one women’s team (even though most of us know that is not how things shake down; men are losing 26 opportunities; women 15) this student newspaper editorialist still feels the need to invoke “Social Darwinism” and complain about how Title IX impedes this survival of the fittest battle. I guess intercollegiate athletics are just not competitive enough. A school’s teams have to battle one another for recruiting dollars, travel budgets, trainers, etc. in more overt ways than they do already. Sorry gymnastics team, you didn’t make it to the post-season last year. No more team trainers for you. You’re going to have to tape your own ankles (and please pay for the tape while you are at it).
It is unfortunate that all the other stuff about intercollegiate athletics–like teamwork, health/fitness, time management, school pride–have become subordinated in this win-at-all-costs, zero-sum game.