Editorial Board: The athletic imbalance

Temple must commit to properly caring for all of its athletic teams.

This past spring, The Temple News did an analysis of athletic budgets of schools in The American. It compared, among other things, Temple’s operating expenses with the operating expenses of teams set to compete in The American in 2013-2014.

The results were alarming. Temple ranks below the average of The American schools in operating expenses in all of the university’s sports except football. In most cases, it’s well below the average. In baseball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, tennis and volleyball, Temple ranks last.

When only considering the operating expenses of non-revenue sports, per sport, Temple ranks last by about $12,000.

Not only are the non-revenue sports not receiving the financial support they need, but most of the teams are housed in and compete on athletic facilities that are not up to the standard of the other schools in The American.

For the teams that compete at Ambler Campus, the facilities don’t stack up. The baseball team’s Skip Wilson Field is the only baseball facility in the new conference without stadium lighting and its 1,000-person capacity is the lowest in The American. The soccer field at Ambler resembles a low-level high school stadium. Its metal bleachers stand as a stark contrast to the permanent grandstand seating of every other soccer facility in The American.

None of those amenities compare to the plight of the crew and rowing teams, which for the past five years have been rowing out of tents situated in a parking lot on Kelly Drive. The university went as far as introducing a proposal to the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commission to build a new boathouse last fall, but that effort was shelved this spring when the commission suggested Temple try renovating its old boathouse instead.

When questioned, university officials said plans to improve athletic facilities for all of the non-revenue sports teams were to be set in motion. However, five months later, officials say there are no concrete plans in the works.

The state of the university’s non-revenue sports teams has been the status quo at Temple for some time, but their disadvantages are direr when set against the backdrop of schools with large athletic budgets in the Owls’ new conference.

Overall, the athletic department is in the best state it’s ever been. However, it’s irresponsible for the university to turn its back on the 23 other sports it sponsors and the hundreds of student-athletes competing in those sports.

If the university wants to be taken seriously as a member of its newly-formed conference, it must make the serious financial commitments required for all of its sports, not just the ones that make money.

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