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Athletics Department | Web Update

Richmond AD talks about decision to cut soccer and track & field

Published: September 21, 2012, 7:37 pm ET
Online Editor

Cutting the men’s track and field and men’s soccer teams in order to add men’s lacrosse was not solely the athletics department’s decision, Richmond Athletic Director Jim Miller said.

“The decision was made at the Board of Trustees’ level,” he said.

The university established the committee, which had a representative from the athletics department on it, in April of 2011 that was composed of faculty and administrators from across campus, Miller said.

“[The committee] did a year-long study of what sports we should have, looking at budgets, admissions issues and everything else you could imagine,” he said. “They went through all the data, and the ultimate decision was that they wanted to add men’s lacrosse.

“In order to add a men’s sport, though, you need to add a women’s sport [due to Title IX], which would produce about 80 new athletes on campus.”

Miller said that the combination of the additional financial responsibilities two more sports would bring and the commitment to giving approximately 20 additional spots in each freshmen class to athletes had not appealed to the university.

The decision to eliminate men’s soccer and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field as intercollegiate sports was made at about 11 a.m. Friday, he said.

“The only sport that the committee looked at adding seriously was men’s lacrosse,” Miller said.

The decision to cut two sports instead of just one came from the need of the combination of resources track and field and soccer provided, he said.

“The committee also talked about that the university was not going to invest significant additional resources into our athletics and keep it where it is,” he said.

Miller broke the news in three separate meetings: first the coaches for both teams, then the men’s soccer players and finally the men’s track and field athletes.

“It was terrible,” Miller said. “Obviously, it’s more difficult for them. They worked hard. They’ve represented the school well.

“It was not pleasant, particularly for soccer because in the sport of track, we are still keeping the cross country team. Most of the track athletes are also running cross country, so they at least still have a sport to compete in, but it was not pleasant.”

Miller said he believed this would settle the mix of university sports. The last time a switch like this happened was about 10 years ago when women’s synchronized swimming was replaced by women’s golf, he said.

Contact staff writer David Weissman at david.weissman@richmond.edu

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  • Jeffrey

    How private is this University?

  • Keep Men’s Track and Field

    “we are still keeping the cross country team.” Yes, but what talented long-distance runner would want to join a team that only has XC when they could go to a school with XC, Indoor, and Outdoor track…
    Very little thinking by uneducated decision makers.

  • John Healy

    The spirit of Title IX is meant to provide opportunities for women athletes. Not to take away opportunities from male athletes. Until something is done with Title IX in regard to men’s athletics, men teams will continue to be unfairly cut at colleges across the country. It’s a damn shame.

    • Christine

      I don’t think Title IX is the problem here…

      • Not true…

        Yes it is. There is no equal opportunity. There’s a huge disparity in amount of work required to receive a scholarship between guys and girls. This case is obviously different, Guys put more time into sports. It’s why engineering schools are allowed to accept more guys than girls.

        • anonymous

          did you really have the audacity to claim that men put more time into sports than women? What data do you have to support this claim? Title IX’s creation and existence, overall, is good. It does come at the detriment of men’s sports at times, and that’s terrible. Right now, however, I think the bigger issue is about UR’s logic (or lack thereof) in regard to dropping TWO men’s sports in order to add one, and then throwing Title IX into their terrible justification. Do me a favor and attempt to address the real issue at hand rather than making ignorant, sexist comments about the “time” that men and women put into sports.

      • Airs

        Christine, sometimes you have to think about inequalities in regards to men instead of just complaining about every little detail involving women.

  • Gregory Hoffman

    Jim Miller says here he wasn’t part of the decision making process. He was, however, part of the “task force” that suggested the course of action to the board of directors. Make your own judgment as to his comments.

  • tinkywinky

    I will do everything in my power to make sure no students from the Charlottesville area attend this university. Especially lacrosse players.

  • http://www.facebook.com/missy.s.smith.9 Missy S. Smith

    The University of Richmond is for sale to the highest bidder. And in this case it’s a Wall Street guy who is on the Board who has a son who is enrolling next year and guess what – he plays Lacrosse. Other members of the Board are outraged that this move was pushed through all because someone waved a seven-figure check. Check out the athletic blogs for more information. This isn’t about Title IX but the administration wants you all to focus your energies that way. This is about chasing the money. And it’s disgusting.

    • Concerned Alumna

      You hit the nail oñ the head with this comment.

  • Alert Observer

    NEWSFLASH! LAX parents are richer than track and field and soccer parents. Go Richmond, this will certainly put you on par with UVA–at least in the most morally bankrupt terms. Way to go.

  • Concerned Spider Alum

    Might as well rename the school, Paul Queally University. It’s disgusting the influence this Wall Street private equity guy has on the administration. UR is officially for sale.

  • Triceragoose

    Love the stereotyping and discrimination coming from all the Soccer and Track fans.

  • Greg Hoffman

    Noone asked what will happen to the current lacrosse team? They are not going to split 8 scholarships among club players, they are more likely going to essentially permanently bench and/or dismiss the guys currently playing for UR Lacrosse

  • RoadTrip2001

    “Money Changes Everything” Cindy Lauper Shameful behavior on the part of an academic institution that presumably embodies high ethical standards and appreciates great student athletes… highest GPA’s… success on the track without scholarships… lowest cost program you could ever have!… Title IX was never communicated to the team, the press or anyone else, this is the new “spin” for damage control… What was communicated, was that in Jim Millers new role as chief fundraiser he had secured “$3 million in new donations which with more on the way” now that lacrosse had been added to UR sports (see the announcement on the UR Athletics website) … In April 2012 the board had discussed the athletic strategic plan and reaffirmed its commitment to the existing plan which included Track and Soccer… money…

  • Laura Reavis

    This is not about one sport over the other. Its about recruiting athletes, having them give up other options and then eliminating the program without any warning. Not to mention breaking promises made to them. This is D1? This is what they were to aspire to? Its inexcusable. This is just plain wrong – read up on it. There is and are alternatives. Hopefully this will turn around. Students at Richmond should be outraged – what a huge lack of integrity.

  • N. Wise

    WHERE IS THE UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND’s HONOR CODE?

    Recruit outstanding academic athletes and promise them a legacy?

    In the legal world we call that fraud.

    My heart goes out to these young men and their families who made the decision to attend UR on false promises. Shame on Miller, the Trustees and University.

  • Al Power

    Seems the University of Richmond is all about the DONOR CODE not HONOR CODE. I would argue that these Track and Soccer academic athletes have been defrauded.
    Have the students contacted the NCAA? This is a viable legal case – didn’t the Unv of VA release their President? Hopefully the UR will re-examine their options and do the right thing for all.

  • N. Wise

    Paul B. Queally Donor.

  • Discontent Alum

    What a huge cop-out. If they’re trying to justify their reasoning with the Title IX excuse and the silly statement of how it “wasn’t pleasant”, they’re pathetic. Cutting a sport to help establish another is ridiculous in and of itself, but cutting TWO athletic programs to fund a single new one screams “political issues” and donor influence. Sure, Lacrosse is a big sport and there are plenty of available athletes that want in, but there is no greater demand for it than there has been in the past, and there hasn’t been a sudden decline in the desire for track and/or soccer programs. There is a serious problem here and it makes me absolutely ashamed to call the University of Richmond my school. I’ve seen and heard of things like this happening at UR for a long time (just to name one — Synchronized Swimming team issue is mentioned here), and yet every time I become more disappointed. What a horrible reputation to have.

  • John

    I applaud the University of Richmond for this decision. Say what you want, the University of Richmond is a southern university that has been hijacked by northerners. Greek life used to be an important part of the culture of Richmond and of the University’s southern tradition. If you ask any older alumni about their experience at the University of Richmond they proudly talk about their fraternity and the life long friendships they made as a result of it. They will also vent on how much the university has changed and how greek life has been watered down by the university. Bringing lacrosse to Richmond is an important step in returning Richmond to its roots. Virginia is a mecca for lacrosse and this is the kind of sport that a small school like Richmond can excel in which in turn will bring national recognition to the university.

    • Rory

      Yeah dude, lacrosse will totally bring in more southern students. Just look at the home states of the top recruits:
      http://games.insidelacrosse.com/list

    • current student

      Yeah, the University must have been a much better place when it was graduating students who didn’t know how to write “life-long friendships”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.norquist Peter Norquist

    There are a lot of questions the Board and UR leadership need to answer about the contradictions in Jim Miller’s reasoning, and the actual weight that donations and endowments played in the decision-making process. Mr. Miller’s new position as a fundraiser and the level of involvement that donators had in making this decision are all direct conflicts of interest and need to be addressed.

    If you are looking for answers, there is a public forum scheduled for Sunday at 5pm EST in the Ukrops Auditorium in the bschool. Show up and show your support.

  • Ashamed Spider