Task Force close to decision on program cuts

It’s been over a month since University President Maravene Loeschke announced the athletic recommendations from Athletic Director Mike Waddell that could end the men’s soccer and baseball programs.

Since that time, a task force has been elected, which has held two forums, one specifically for students and one for the public. The task force has also recruited outside opinions to help it with its eventual decision.

“We’ve called in numerous people in the course of our deliberations for information and opinions,” Head of the Athletics Task Force and chair of the Board of Visitors David Nevins said. “The Athletics Director has been called in and other University staff members have been called in and we’ve sought many, many opinions on the subject, ranging from a couple public hearings to lots and lots of research and a number of emails and phone conversations we’ve had with experts around the country. We’ve done a lot of research, including speaking to the Athletics Director numerous occasions.”

Recently, accusations were made in the Facebook group “Save Towson Baseball and Men’s Soccer” that the original recommendations did not count indoor and outdoor track & field as separate teams. The teams, and their rosters, need to be counted as separate teams, according to recent Title IX court cases.

Waddell said the issue has been resolved and the numbers are correct.

“Recent court cases permit universities to double count indoor and outdoor track participation to achieve proportionality,” he said in an email. “The original athletics recommendation has been reviewed by the Task Force and adjustments have been made using the double count, as well as a variety of different track and field roster totals in the several models that are being considered. The Task Force is continuing to do their due diligence and will provide the President with their recommendation once they have completed their process.”

While Nevins said the task force expects to finalize its delegations and hand their proposal over to Loeschke within the coming weeks, Loeschke made a public statement Wednesday saying a decision was expected to be made in next few days.

“After speaking with the student athletes, it is critical we make a timely decision,” the statement reads. “With that in mind, I have closely followed the task force’s progress while simultaneously conducting my own extensive review. We have an efficient timeline in place. I anticipate their final assessment within days, which I will review carefully. I will then move quickly to announce my final decision shortly thereafter.”

Nevins said the task force is continuing to do its research and doesn’t want to hurry this important issue.

“We’re running through all the numbers in every area and we want to make sure that the numbers that we’re studying, whether they be record numbers or roster numbers, or whatever the case may be, are accurate,” he said. “This is complicated stuff.”

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