At the Board of Trustees meeting Monday where the crew and rowing cuts were overturned, there was an opportunity for members of the public to voice their concerns directly to the board, President Theobald and Athletic Director Kevin Clark.
Student-athletes from the affected sports hoped they would get a chance to state their case and perhaps sway the opinions of some board members. However, that didn’t end up happening, as all but one present board member approved Theobald’s recommendation to reinstate crew and rowing but still cut baseball, softball, men’s gymnastics and men’s indoor and outdoor track & field.
“I feel like they already had their mind made up and whatever we said, they weren’t going to [change their mind],” sophomore baseball player Tim McCarthy said. “They kept on going back to the four situations, with Title IX and all that. I just thought what they did, they haven’t handled this whole process correctly at all.”
“They didn’t really go in-depth,” freshman gymnast Jakob Welsh said. “They tried to go away from the answer because they knew they were in the wrong. I didn’t really like it that much.”
The four factors for the cuts the administration has stood behind are inadequate facilities, issues with gender equity, student-athlete welfare and financial commitments.
Baseball coach Ryan Wheeler said to the board that he had been told that facilities were the main reason for the cut of his team. When he asked why the offer from the Camden Riversharks allowing Temple to play home games in Campbell’s Field didn’t change the fate of the team, Theobald said the other factors played a role, eliciting groans from the crowd.
“They knew they were going to do this the whole time,” freshman baseball player Pat Vanderslice said. “They never were going to change their minds.”
“They kept bringing up the same thing over and over,” Vanderslice added. “When we would fix one thing, they would come up with another excuse.”
One of the reasons given in the past for the cut of men’s gymnastics is that the team shares a facility with the women’s team. Theobald has said there is not enough space for both teams. Thirteen of 14 schools in the U.S. that have both a men’s and women’s program share training space.
“It’s kind of a given in our sport,” sophomore gymnast Wayne Conley said. “I don’t know how familiar they are with our sport. I think they don’t know much, if anything at all, about our sport and our situation. It’s a very special situation. The men and women’s team here, we’re like brothers and sisters. We’re all there all the time and the facilities issue – it’s not even a question to me.”
Both McCarthy and Vanderslice said most baseball players will transfer after the season to play elsewhere.
“It would be hard to go to school and enjoy coming to a school if they screwed you over before,” McCarthy said.
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.