Temple University cuts 7 intercollegiate sports

PHILADELPHIA - December 6, 2013

This is effective July 1, 2014, so many of these students still have another season left. Still, it's a major disappointment and university officials say it wasn't an easy decision.

The sports being cut are: baseball, softball, men's and women's rowing, men's gymnastics, men's indoor track and field and men's outdoor track and field.

Some 150 students will be affected and nine full-time coaches will lose their jobs, the university confirmed to Action News.

Senior Ali Watkins was with her teammates on the women's rowing team today when Temple officials announced seven athletic programs including theirs had been cut.

Ali says, "Right now I think everyone is in shock. We were blindsided by it to say the least."

The decision came after the university's board of trustees made the unanimous vote Friday afternoon during an emergency meeting. After a seven month detailed analysis, they took in several factors before making the decision.

Temple University spokesman Larry Dougherty explains, "We were not able to give the quality of student athlete care that we would like to have for a Division 1 athletic program with this amount of sports being sponsored."

Also considered, their financial commitment, the facilities and becoming up-to-date on their Title IX compliance.

All scholarships will be honored for all four years. Under NCAA rules, scholarship students can transfer out. Temple says they will help the coaches find another job.

Sophomore Truman Levine is on a scholarship for men's crew and is relieved to learn the university will honor their financial commitment.

"The first thing on my mind is a lot of kids are here for the sole reason of rowing, and a lot of kids are really devastated by not having a team anymore."

Truman says he will stay and row on a club team.

As for the timing of the decision. They wanted to make it before the winter break so students could discuss it with their families.

In a statement, Temple said:

"The decision is the result of a seven-month detailed analysis of Temple's athletics situation. The analysis looked at the Athletics budget and its ongoing expectations for support; the facilities currently being used and how much it would cost to upgrade them; a detailed comparison with other universities in the American Athletic Conference; and comparisons with other institutions of higher education similar to Temple."

"Temple does not have the resources to equip, staff, and provide a positive competitive experience for 24 varsity sports. Continuing this model does a disservice to our student-athletes," Clark said in a written statement. "We need to have the right-sized program to create a sustainable model for Temple University Athletics moving forward."

The students affected will be able to transfer without sitting out a year, the university said.

Also, any students under scholarship will be "guaranteed financial aid for the remainder of their academic tenure," according to the university.

Temple President Neil Theobald said tightening budgets have resulted in unpopular decisions across the university, with cuts of more than $113 million in operations support in recent years.

"Temple's student-athletes are extraordinary ambassadors for the university," said President Theobald in a written statement. "This is an extremely difficult decision, but it is being done in the best long-term interests of our student-athletes."

The move reduces Temple's total of varsity sports from 24 to 17.

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