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ONn Dropping Sports

We've been on and around this topic many times over the years.  Here are the thoughts of Bob Smizik, a long time Pittsburgh newspaper reporter, on the subject:

"I have no problem with universities dropping athletic programs. Colleges are not supposed to be in the business of fielding athletic teams. Its a quaint American tradition that does not make a lot of sense. Why, for example, should a university sponsor, say, a gymnastics team and pay coaching salaries, travel budget, scholarship money, medical insurance and other expenses for -- what? -- 10 to 15 students. The money could be far better spent to upgrade and expand intramural athletics or for dozens of other purposes.

If the NCAA did not require a certain number of sports to be sponsored in order to participate on the Division I level in basketball, I believe wed see a lot more sports eliminated. Its the NCAAs way of maintaining a level of power.

I do not gladly take this stance. Ive seen many people profit for the experience of college athletics. But the expenses required to field such teams do not make them compatible with todays marketplace."

What is clearly raising expenses of the minor sports are the emergence of Mega conferences with wide geographical reach. Why should the baseball team, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams at Maryland and Rutgers have travel the distances to be in the Big Ten conference. There should be regional conferences to cover these sports and if you want to go join a mega conference for football and basketball fine.

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