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  • Ball State to cut men's track & field

    In what has been already an amazing amount of men's track & field programs eliminated alone in the Mid-American Conference over the past two years, you can now add Ball State University to the list.

    According to Ball State senior Brian Runyon, the Cardinals will eliminate men's indoor and outdoor track, men's volleyball, men's swimming, women's field hockey and women's gymnastics after the 2003-04 seasons. More information to the story is below:

    http://www.trackshark.com/articles/story.php?id=925

    *** just wanted to point out that this latest Ball State situation is very unique because Bubba Cunningham, the Athletic Director, did not want this information to leak out until the official announcement was to be made after the July 18th Board of Trustees meeting. What does this mean? The coaches are fed up with the current situation and they felt they had to so something to let people know so this information could be let out. This is NOT a Title IX issue at all. Remember, they are also cutting two women's sports: field hockey and gymnastics.

  • #2
    Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

    Unfortunately, these types of threads usually degenerate into arguments over Title IX and weather or not college football makes money. What's lost in these disputes is that the real losers are the student athletes who's teams are going away. They have my sympathy.

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    • #3
      Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

      Damn! I may have to step in and do something about this. Ball State is one of my favorite schools. The others are Morehead State and Bringem Young.

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      • #4
        Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

        Bubba Cunningham, the Athletic Director,
        >did not want this information to leak out until
        >the official announcement was to be made after
        >the July 18th Board of Trustees meeting.

        This is NOT a Title IX issue
        >at all. Remember, they are also cutting two
        >women's sports: field hockey and gymnastics.


        Yeah -- probably the reason they didn't want it to leak until after the Jul. 18 board meeting was that the brain trust was planning to use that meeting to come up with some way to spin the cuts in such a way that they can blame Title IX.

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        • #5
          Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

          I will throw in my 2 cents worth (and I never hesitate anyway). Football in the MAC, or any other non-BCS Division 1-A conference, does not make money. Typically at a "mid-major" school such as Ball State, the biggest money loser is football, followed by hockey (if offered), men's basketball, and baseball. Remember, fewer than 50 football programs across the nation make a profit.

          The conference reshuffling that is about to take place proves that every athletic decision made at a D-1 school revolves around football. Of the 63 BCS-conference schools, 60 offer men's track. Recent cuts to men's programs have not come at the BCS schools, or at the D-II or D-III schools, but almost exclusively at I-A programs that are not in the 6 major conferences. Only 31 of those 46 schools have track programs (which drops to 29 out of 44 if BYU and Utah jump to the Pac-10, as the rumor mill has it). In other words, it's at the schools that can't afford to play big-time football but try to anyway.

          Two years ago, Bowling Green blamed its athletic cuts on budgeting and Title IX. Track, the most expensive team that got the axe, accounted for less than 2% of BGSU's athletic budget. The huge deficits the AD blamed on minor sports were run up in his two years in charge of athletics; he's put it in the hole another $1 million each of the last two years. The overruns come not from tuition's effect on scholarships or from having too many sports (where he put the blame) but from increased spending on football and hockey. The university spent nearly $2 million on upgrades to the hockety arena and footbal stadium the fall before they cut the teams. Oh, and the DOE certified BGSU as in compliance with Title IX before any cuts were made.

          In our land of the free press, you'd think someone would have looked into this and written an expose. But in a small town, the university controls the media. I just hope that someone brings some heat to those jerks in Muncie

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          • #6
            Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

            I figured this thread would turn out this way. I'm probably going to get bashed for this, but here goes. It seems impossible to discuss track program cuts without someone turning into the Waterboy's mother: "Foosball is the devil!" (if you didn't see the movie, you don't get that). AD's have to set priorities. At the D-1A non-BCS level, those football programs may or may not break even. However, if you were the AD, would you want to answer to the alumni and big $$$ donors, and even the school president and regents for cutting back on football? Which do you cut? A track program that brings zero revenue, attendance and practically zero publicity to the University...or a football program that brings 30,000 (or more) people to campus 5 times a year, getting mentions on sportscasts around the nation every Saturday? I love track and field, but you have to understand the situation. Asking AD's to cut spending on football to save track just ain't gonna happen.

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            • #7
              Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

              Rational is right on his analysis.... to a point. What could/should be done to improve the situation not only for other sports but also for football itself (as practiced nationwide) would be a cutback in what football spends that does virtually nothing to improve the product, and if everybody is cutting, then they all stay relatively the same anyway.

              Imagine what it costs to hotel the entire football team the night before a game... at home! Training tables, spring football, etc., etc. If nobody did it, it would all come out in the wash.

              And let's talk about scholarships. Pro football makes do with half the people. As I recall, last time they cut scholarships what it did was make sure that Alabama, Nebraska, et al could no longer have 25 guys sitting on the bench who could be starting at any other Div. I school. The result? More parity, with more programs being competitive. Surely another similar cut would produce similar results, and a Ball State would have a better football team while spending even less money.

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              • #8
                Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                I'm not asking them to cut football. I'm asking them to tell the truth (or the damn press to force it out of them). And at these mid-major schools, it's not "may or may not make money". They lose money, and a lot of it. BGSU loses $1 million a year to football, and they're typical. If neither Marshall nor Fresno State can cut a profit, it's simply impossible. And they're not just staying even with their football spending, it's ballooning.

                Besides BYU, which may soon move to the Pac-10, the only schools that will field men's track next year, spent more than a week in the football Top 25 in the last five years, and aren't in the big 6 conferences are TCU and Louisville (and Louisville doesn't have indoor). Marshall, Toledo, Bowling Green, Fresno State, Tulane -- do you see the pattern?

                Years ago the MAC had scholarship limits for every sport that were lower than the NCAA limit. The rationale was that competitive balance within the conference was healthier for all involved than trying to play with the big boys. When that went out the window, small sports got the axe. Let me paint the picture: all but a few MAC schools now have the minimum number of men's sports for conference and 1-A membership. Baseball is required for MAC schools; the other three sports each has are things like cross country and golf, with almost no budget or scholarships.

                The big boys now have the BCS and tightened requirements for Division 1-A membership. The differences between the conferences are institutional and growing. I'm not trying to say that football is the devil. I'm trying to point out that the crisis of survival facing collegiate track is within a certain group, and what the ADs there say is most certainly not what's really going on.

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                • #9
                  Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                  After looking at this more deeply, there are even more questions:

                  Ball State's EADA shows an annual loss of less than $163,000. Why is it necessary to cut SIX teams to level the books? Heck, Michigan loses more money than that every year (you can look it up if you don't believe me).

                  Oh, and football posted a loss of almost $1.7 million on the year. Just for comparison's sake.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                    Yeah, and I hear that the biology departments at most schools don't break even, either. Do you think we should cut them, too? College athletics, with a few exceptions, is not a profitable venture. However, it is a worthwhile one. Just because we as readers of this board have a track background rather than a football one does not make our sport any more worthy of survival than any other. (I always sense a great deal of jealousy when some folks talk about how much money is spent on football...)

                    Once again, put yourself in the athletic director's shoes. You have to cut the budget. You can cut back on spending for football, thus pissing off some alumni, donors, sponsors, possibly the president and regents, or you can cut (insert non-revenue sport here) and piss off a very select few that follow that sport (as no one else will notice).

                    I wish no track program would ever get cut (or any other program for that matter), but here in the real world, such things will happen.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                      >put yourself in the athletic director's
                      >shoes. You have to cut the budget.


                      In most cases they don't actually have to. They are literally moving funds from minor sports into major ones. I looked into this for quite some time, and at Bowling Green it was quite blatant.

                      You can cut
                      >back on spending for football, thus pissing off
                      >some alumni, donors, sponsors, possibly the
                      >president and regents, or you can cut (insert
                      >non-revenue sport here) and piss off a very
                      >select few that follow that sport (as no one else
                      >will notice).

                      Um, at BG everyone noticed. Football attendance dropped even thought they were in a championship hunt. The AD privately said he wished he'd never cut any sport. The university even had a drop in enrollment that was not expected in their statistical projections. Their fund-raising was compromised. It is a major story in most college towns, even if the press doesn't do diddly. Remember, a typical track program has more than a thousand alumni.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                        You know, I was wrong all along. If I give you my address, will you come to my house and kill me? It is obvious you want me dead any way.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                          >Unfortunately, these types of threads usually
                          >degenerate into arguments over Title IX and
                          >weather or not college football makes money.

                          I have been proven correct. Good job, guys.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                            >>Unfortunately, these types of threads
                            >usually
                            >degenerate into arguments over Title IX
                            >and
                            >weather or not college football makes
                            >money.

                            I have been proven correct. Good job,
                            >guys.

                            I agree. Some kids are probably going home with tears and you goofballs are argueing about football spending. Wankers.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Ball State to cut men's track & field

                              >Only 31 of those 46 schools have track programs
                              >(which drops to 29 out of 44 if BYU and Utah
                              >jump to the Pac-10, as the rumor mill has it).>>

                              If ever I've heard a bad rumor, that sounds like it. There was talk a few years back about Texas and Colorado (before the Big 12 came into fruition), but I've never heard this one. The free-thinking left coast schools tieing in with the reactionary Utahans? Makes no sense to me.

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