Temple University reinstates 2 sports slated to be cut

PHILADELPHIA - February 24, 2014

At a Board of Trustees meeting Monday afternoon, it was announced that two of the seven sports slated to be cut will be coming back - men's crew and women's rowing.

The news was bittersweet for Temple athletes - happy to hear that two sports had been saved but all the others - baseball, softball, men's gymnastics, and men's indoor and outdoor track and field - they are over.

Gavin White thought his 35 years as head coach of Temple's men's crew team had come to an end when the board of trustees announced in December that they were eliminating those sports.

Then, on Monday afternoon, his phone rang.

"He says, 'Congratulations Gavin!' I said, 'What happened?" said White.

That friend heard on the news on the radio.

"I can't wait to see the kids' faces in the morning. It's going to be like Christmas morning," said White.

Temple originally cut the seven sports because of financial concerns and gender-fairness issues.

The teams were given a chance to argue for reinstatement, but on Monday afternoon the board announced that only the men's and women's rowing teams will return.

"As a woman on the rowing team, it's very fortunate - at the same time I wish there would have been a way to save everyone," said Samantha Ceder-Strand, women's rowing.

"I was hoping for some more positive news. It's definitely very frustrating knowing that we're not going to be saved," said Casey Polizzotto, men's gymnastics.

From City Hall, we learned why the rowing programs could be saved. Mayor Michael Nutter announced the city is partnering with philanthropist and temple board member, Gerry Lenfest to contribute more than $5 million to renovate the East Park Canoe House on Kelly Drive.

"The City of Philadelphia has committed $2.5 million and through the generosity of Jerry Lenfest and the Lenfest Foundation, they've now contributed $3 million to this effort," said Mayor Nutter.

Temple officials explained the sole reason the rowing programs were being cut was that those teams didn't have a home facility. They've been using a tent along the Schuylkill River for five years. Now the renovated boathouse will be their long-term home.

"Through this collaboration, the city and Mr. Lenfest have made it possible for Temple to have a home and continue a tradition on the Schuylkill River," said Temple University President Neil Theobald.

The city also announced other renovations for along Kelly Drive.

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