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I wrote a few weeks ago about several high schools in California and Florida who were cutting sports programs in order to save funding in this tight economy. Students and parents were upset because, in addition to taking away positive after-school activities, the loss of sports programs would decrease a student’s chance of getting a scholarship. Well now, even some universities are feeling the strain and are being forced to cut sports programs. The end result is even worse though, because college athletes who were thinking about pursuing a professional athletic career are left out in the cold.
The University of Northern Iowa cut its baseball program this year to “cover a budget shortfall.” Head coach Rick Heller said the process of helping his players find new universities for the 2010 season has been “horrible, an absolute nightmare” and that he couldn’t imagine anything worse. In addition to re-homing his players, Heller must also find a new job for himself after 10 years at Northern Iowa.
Iowa is not the only state that is eliminating sports programs to save money. The University of Vermont is cutting the baseball and softball programs. Massachusetts just cut their men’s and women’s varsity skiing teams.
“If there’s a program that is on the fringe, as far as what the cost is, what they feel it brings to the campus and the community with the alumni and so forth, those types of programs are always in question where there’s a lack of money,” said Dave Keilitz, the executive director of the American Baseball Coaches Association.
But honestly, how can you put a price on someone’s future career options? These athletes are paying the same tuition as everyone else who attend these schools. Why should their futures be cut short? I bet Northern Iowa wouldn’t dream of cutting their business school to save a few pennies. Please understand, I am not a sports-buff. I just do not think it’s fair to punish these athletes who have obviously worked very hard to get to where they are now.
Via The New York Times.