Students voice opinions in first Athletics Task Force forum
The Athletics task force, charged with reporting to the President with a recommendation about cutting the men’s soccer and baseball teams, held an open Tuesday afternoon.
The forum was meant to be an opportunity for members of the student body the chance to express their opinions about the issue.
“We’re in a listening mode,” Athletics Task Force leader David Nevins said, who is also chair of the Towson board of visitors. “We realize that there are a number of affected stakeholders, and students are clearly among that group. We wanted to give the students the opportunity to come during their school day and offer their thoughts and opinions.”
Members of the baseball team, golf team, women’s tennis team, the Student Government Association and other students all spoke at the forum. All of those that spoke were not in favor of Waddell’s recommendation.
“We were incredibly impressed,” Nevins said. “I think it’s fair to say with how articulate they were and how passionate they were and how educated they were on the subject.”
Baseball’s junior shortstop Hunter Bennett was also impressed with how well the forum went.
“We showed a lot of support, not just from athletes but from people in the student body,” Bennett said. “It really seemed that they cared and want to support us. That meant a lot to us.”
The task force wants to develop a solution that will establish long-term financial stability of the athletics program, increase the competitiveness of the athletics program and maintain compliance with federal law concerning female-to-male athlete proportionality.
“We are very much still in the information gathering stage,” Nevins said. “We want to look at all options. We are doing independent research, we’re hearing from experts on multiple subjects, but we also recognize at some point we need to make a recommendation too back to the president.”
After news broke of both programs facing the chance of being discontinued, both teams have seen a tremendous amount of support from the student body, the surrounding community and alumni through social media.
During one of the Baltimore Orioles’ home games during the ALDS, a sign saying “SaveTUBaseball” made television. During the Ravens-Cowboys game, a plane flew over M&T Bank stadium with a banner saying the same thing.
The soccer team has also seen support. During a recent DC United game, fans held up a sign supporting the program.
“It’s more support than we all thought we were going to get when we first heard the news,” Bennett said. “It’s unbelievable really. Even like the Orioles game when they showed the ‘SaveTUBaseball’ sign, people on Twitter said, ‘We support you.’ To see how many people care in the community, it’s very uplifting.”
The men’s soccer program was not able to attend the forum due to a scheduled practice the day before its final home game of the season.
The task force will hold another meeting on Monday night from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Minnegan Room in the Johnny Unitas Field House.