Eliminated: Men’s soccer and baseball in danger of discontinuation to appease Title IX
Tuesday morning, President Maravene Loeschke sent out an email informing students and faculty about a proposal made by Director of Athletics Mike Waddell that would cut the men’s soccer and baseball teams for the 2013-14 academic year.
The proposal was made to remain in compliance with Title IX and the school budget.
Title IX, which was implemented in 1972, is a federal law that works to give women more equality in athletics and education and states that there has to be a 60-40 ratio of women to men within an athletic department.
Waddell held meetings with players and coaches Tuesday to explain the proposal.
“We thought it was very important to meet with the student athletes immediately after meeting with the coaches and do it first thing of the day because it was important to me that they heard this news directly from the mouth of the first party,” Waddell said.
During these meetings, members of both the soccer and baseball teams showed frustration toward the proposal, Waddell said.
“The way they reacted was about how I would expect them to react,” he said. “If I was 18-22 years old and was told what they were told today, I would be upset, I’d be hurt, I’d be frustrated and I’d be looking for definitive answers.”
Junior pitcher Chris Acker said the team felt betrayed.
“We both [soccer and baseball] have recently had the top GPAs in Towson Athletics,” he said. “We all feel like we have tried hard to set an example here at Towson and now we are being punished for it.”
Baseball Head Coach Mike Gottlieb said that the emotions of the players are difficult to digest.
“It’s been a blow to my gut, there’s no question,” Gottlieb said. “Watching our guys in the meeting yesterday afternoon, watching the soccer guys in an earlier meeting yesterday afternoon, and seeing the emotion of all these kids, it feels like a blow to your heart. It brings tears to your eyes seeing how they were affected.”
Reaction around campus has been similar to that of the players and coaches, and the student body has already showed support of both teams.
Facebook groups have also begun to form in support of both programs.
Senior history and secondary education major Tim Flaherty, who isn’t currently a member of Towson Athletics, said that the teams’ elimination would be a huge loss for the Towson community.
“I can’t imagine attending a Division-1 school that takes itself serious athletically without offering a baseball or soccer program,” Flaherty said. “Those kids on both teams are a staple around campus both on and off the field, not to mention their success on the field.”
Gottlieb said he has seen other athletic programs cut before in his 24 years at Towson as a head coach.
“I remember, and I believe it was 1990, our football program was just about removed from here,” Gottlieb said. “At the last second, the ‘powers that be’ changed their mind and they allowed it to stay.”
Gottlieb believes that the soccer and baseball teams, as well as the students, should remain positive.
“I’m holding out hope that somebody’s going to say we can make this happen, we’re going to find a way,” he said. “There are a lot of smart people that are going to be doing this I hope, and I’d like to think they’re going to go about it in a positive way. I think let’s make this happen for these kids and not just go through the motions.”
Men’s Soccer Head Coach Frank Olszewski was not available for comment because of an away game at Delaware Wednesday night.