Confusion, disappointment, even anger reigned for college sports fans over the last month. Alleged events at Penn State and Syracuse make the on-field and financial troubles at the University of Maryland seem paltry in comparison. That said, we are still allowed to root for the Terps. Disgusting action elsewhere does not change our commitment to Maryland. Maybe it just allows for more perspective.
Bad news tends to be the only news from College Park these days. Awful play from the football team, a poor start for the men's basketball team and now the Athletic Department has much less money left than they thought. Who was managing this thing, Tyrone Biggums? Blame can be spread around, a healthy chunk with now departed AD Debbie Yow, but ultimately Terps athletics got caught up in the same building boom as much of the country over the last decade. We built it, and nobody's coming.
I won't pretend to be a big water polo or tumbling fan, but I do hate to see my school lose those and other sports. Those kids work hard and perform well for Maryland. I like to think that when Mark Turgeon brings the basketball team back to top 20 status and Randy Edsall develops a consistent winner with the football team, the Maryland athletic department can bring those sports back. Without big-revenue sports turning a significant profit, non-revenue sports will not be played.
The economics are simple. Maryland does not bring in enough money to pay for the eight sports to be cut, and debt in College Park already runs too high. Maybe national political leaders should look to the Maryland administrators for addressing a problem when they must, rather than kicking the can down the road. I will say I am glad Terps athletics will be able to keep the high performing, but still revenue negative, sports like field hockey and soccer.
Cutting sports at Maryland sucks, no way around that. But considering everything else in the world of college sports, it could be much worse.