University of Akron drops men's cross country...

psycho_dad

Well-known member
Cuz the football team is so good and such a money maker. They have no business being a D1 football school. My dad would have been crushed! He helped with CC, Track and Field and Soccer at Akron U for many years. Never was happy about the name change either. "Who goes from near the front of the alphabet to near the end of it by choice?" People start looking at schools from A-Z not Z-A . Wonder if I'll get a response to the email I will send? (And you can't stop me Jeff Howard! I'm going to do it! I might use your name though. I have too many strikes against me.)
 

SOTT

Active member
To anyone who is an Akron Cross Country Alumnus, please PM me with your email address or email me at jto6@zips,uakron.edu (that's the letter o, not a zero).

I am compiling all men's cross country alumni information and sending out a google form to gather some more info in an effort to combat this.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
To anyone who is an Akron Cross Country Alumnus, please PM me with your email address or email me at jto6@zips,uakron.edu (that's the letter o, not a zero).

I am compiling all men's cross country alumni information and sending out a google form to gather some more info in an effort to combat this.
I wish you luck, but unless you can develop a way to endow the program and make it self-sufficient, it's probably a goner. The problem here is that Akron was offering a few sports beyond the minimum number required to remain DI, so they had room to drop a few sports. Some other MAC schools were already operating with the minimum number of men's sports.
 

SOTT

Active member
I wish you luck, but unless you can develop a way to endow the program and make it self-sufficient, it's probably a goner. The problem here is that Akron was offering a few sports beyond the minimum number required to remain DI, so they had room to drop a few sports. Some other MAC schools were already operating with the minimum number of men's sports.
There are a lot of factors at play here, but one of the biggest things to consider is the fact that cross country is almost entirely endowed by the track program. They are under the same staff and scholarship umbrella. There is a small additional cost in terms of travel, but it is "minimal."
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
There are a lot of factors at play here, but one of the biggest things to consider is the fact that cross country is almost entirely endowed by the track program. They are under the same staff and scholarship umbrella. There is a small additional cost in terms of travel, but it is "minimal."
Good luck. Football is killing everything else.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
This is directed for the whole forum not just you...it's all over the threads.
Sorry. All my stuff from there from the little basketballs I used to get at the games to shirts my dad had up until sometime in the 80's or maybe even 90's all had AU not UofA. It's dead to me now!
 

runohio

Member




 
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psycho_dad

Well-known member
The title of the thread even says A_ _ _ _ U...

Those have to be 3 of the least expensive sports to field teams and travel out of every team possible.

12.6 scholarships between Track&Field and XC? So maybe at Akron 3 or 4 for XC.. They have like 15-18 guys on the team. So 70% of the team paying full tuition etc... Can't save that much money. How does it cost 4.4 million for those 3 teams? Do they still get 12.6 to use on Track and Field?
 

SOTT

Active member
...So 70% of the team paying full tuition etc...
This is a very important point. The University would likely lose money on this as there would be men leaving the team who are otherwise paying way more for tuition than they are getting in scholarship money.
 

runohio

Member
Not one MAC school makes money in football – But they cut cross country which travel budget is probably just a few thousand dollars. When Ohio University dropped their men’s track & field team they still keep the 5 scholarships which were used for CC and they had the same coaches for T&F and CC. - but they all hope to make it big time. All MAC schools get money from the general funds/students fees for football. I did a lot of research when Ohio University dropped their men’s track & field program years ago. Most MAC school loses a million dollars or more a year in football. Only about 25 or so Division I schools make money in football.

I did a few internet searches today – one stated Akron Lost $4.2 million dollars in football in 2012

More - $169 million in subsidies for college sports from student fees, and other university funds -Receiving the largest university or student subsidy last year (2018) were the athletic departments at Cincinnati ($24,892,123), Akron ($23,813,277) and Miami ($23,771,560).

Here is just one of many articles you can find on the internet about football teams losing money going to a bowl game – https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-2011-03-02-hc-uconn-fiesta-bowl-loss-20110302-story.html
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
Back in the early 70's, Cletus Griffin ran for the Zips. My dad loved that guy. I may be wrong, but I think he held every distance record at Akron from the mile to the 10k including steeple. All American in the 10k and also Akron was top ten in the nation at the National meet in CC and he was an all american there too. 72 or 73. Slow as molasses dad used to say, but ran huge miles a day. In high school I topped out at about 35 miles a week. Dad told me Cletus would run 35 miles a lot of days. Dad worked extra with him to teach him to be able to go over the steeple barriers. Look him up. History that should not be lost. Kyle Cochrun from Woodridge had a very nice career after a rough high school career full of ridiculous injuries. Joey McCoy of Woodridge also had a nice carreer at Akron. Al Campbell and my dad were tight. Al was as kind a man as I've ever met. Great history that deserves more.

We used to host picnics at our home for track, CC and Soccer. I was a little kid, but I'll never forget it. Could care less about Akron football.
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
How does it cost 4.4 million for those 3 teams?
I don't think that the $4.4 million is only from those 3 teams. The article at the link above is poorly written but it does read "The elimination of these sports, along with salary reductions for select coaches, staff position eliminations, scholarship and operating reductions will total approximately $4.4 million."

I took the part that I put in bold to mean coaches, staff positions, scholarship and operating reductions to be coming from the athletic department as a whole and not just those 3 sports.

Here is another article that is written a little better and seems to verify what I'm thinking. The first sentence of that article:

"The University of Akron (UA) announced today that it will discontinue three intercollegiate athletics programs at the end of the 2019-20 academic year as part of its plan to reduce the University's financial support to the Athletics Department by approximately 23 percent ($4.4 million)."

The athletic department wants to cut $4.4 million from the budget. Eliminating those 3 sports is just a part of that.

It sucks all the way around.
 

SOTT

Active member
Here are the facts as best I know them after having spent the better part of the day running down as much information as possible:

The $4.4 million in cuts is coming across all sports programs. There will be some cuts in staffing, some cuts in scholarships, some cuts in travel expenses, etc. Three programs, as we now know, got cut entirely: women's tennis, men's golf, and men's cross country.

The operating budget for the men's track and field and cross country team is under one umbrella, as is the scholarship allocation. The amount of money that could be attributed directly to men's cross country expenses last year (mainly for travel) was $6,500. Yes, four figures.

The language in the press release talked about scholarship cuts and staffing cuts, but made no mention of the specifics. Is it true that some cross country kids have scholarships? Yes, certainly, but cuts to overall scholarship numbers doesn't necessitate cutting cross country because, once again, it lives under the umbrella of track. A cut of three scholarships means that they would have to eliminate that much scholarship money across the entire men's track program, cross country included, but cutting cross country doesn't lessen the amount of scholarship money to be given out. It just means it will be spread out among fewer kids. The total value remains the same.

Additionally, if staffing cuts are mandated of the track and field team, that doesn't necessitate the cutting of men's cross country either. It would be like cutting the sprints coach: those duties would simply be absorbed by the rest of the staff. Plenty of coaching staffs around the nation are structured such that one person coaches both men and women.

So far, then, we have arrived at these facts:
1. Travel expenses for men's cross country alone come out to $6,500. Running total: $6,500
2. Cutting scholarships can be done without or without the men's cross country program. Running total: $6,500
3. Cutting staff can be done without being forced to cut men's cross country program. Running total: $6,500

The men's cross country program costs $6,500, on it's face.

Now, there are a few other nuanced arguments to be made that cutting men's cross country would actually put the university at an economic disadvantage. There are a handful of students who come to Akron just because they are told they can walk on the team. They aren't on scholarship, but they ARE paying tuition. That generates revenue. Furthermore, there is now an incentive structure in Ohio which provides money to universities for in-state kids graduating. I probably don't have to point out that cross country runners are pretty well known for graduating.

In terms of finances, it will likely cost the university more to cut men's cross country than it will to retain the program.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
I had a conversation with the NC State people years ago about finances. Very Brief. They host a few CC meets that bring in $. The Raleigh relays brings in a ton. And for every scholarship they give out, there are 3-4 full paying teammates. If they lose money, they lose "a lot less than other sports. Especially Football". And Rollie Geiger was assistant AD!

That $6500 had to be made up by the CC invite they host, + indoor. Golf and Tennis can't cost that much either. They might have more travel, but how much can tennis cost? Golf- I can see some more expenses, but nothing that they can't go to coaches and say, you have to come up with a way to make 10 grand or cut 10 grand. Drop Football down and promote all their other sports more and it's a success.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
Would be interesting to see what the salary reductions for select coaches, staff position eliminations, scholarship and operating reductions will be. I would think that being a state university, all of this would have to be made public. I will admit that I just saw the 4.4 and thought, there is no way cutting those 3 sports comes anywhere near that. I didn't read so good.
 

madman

Active member
These are not professional sports. I think success is determined by far more than a won-loss record. If you don't have a fully funded program, you aren't going to be competitive with programs that are.

Since most athletic programs are supported from the University's general fund, I think the University gets to decide the purpose of each program and also gets to evaluate if each program is the best use of the related funds. It may be a public university but that doesn't give the public the right to manage line-items within a budget.
 
However, I do think programs have a responsibility to make their programs visable to the public, especially the athletic department, and alumni and supporters in terms of endowments. Akron's baseball team was first on the chopping block but saved by the fact that they had their scholarships endowed privately. I have no idea if Akron XC had any of these things in place but I believe that most coaches take an almost entitled view of their programs.
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Many great points have been made here but how successful were these programs?
I can't speak about men's golf or women's tennis but the men's XC program has been successful and it has a lot of tradition. Over the years they have competed well and depending on the year, are one of the top programs in the MAC. While the track team has not been cut, by cutting XC it will decrease the strength of the distance events on the track team. Not many serious distance runners would want to attend a school that did not have both XC and track. As you may or may not know, Akron also has a fairly decent track team that competes well though in all fairness, the strength of the team in recent years has been from field events. It never made sense to me that a program would cut track and keep XC or cut XC and keep track.

In reviewing the budget I am wondering what the athletic department thought was the first program that should be cut? If it was women's tennis, did UA need to cut 2 men's teams in order to keep the balance that Title IX requires? If it is decided that XC would be reinstated would another men's team be on the chopping block in order to stay in compliance? I admittedly do not know a lot about Title IX requirements. If the XC program could figure out a way to be self-funding would it then count in the Title IX numbers?
 

SOTT

Active member
I can't speak about men's golf or women's tennis but the men's XC program has been successful and it has a lot of tradition. Over the years they have competed well and depending on the year, are one of the top programs in the MAC. While the track team has not been cut, by cutting XC it will decrease the strength of the distance events on the track team. Not many serious distance runners would want to attend a school that did not have both XC and track. As you may or may not know, Akron also has a fairly decent track team that competes well though in all fairness, the strength of the team in recent years has been from field events. It never made sense to me that a program would cut track and keep XC or cut XC and keep track.

In reviewing the budget I am wondering what the athletic department thought was the first program that should be cut? If it was women's tennis, did UA need to cut 2 men's teams in order to keep the balance that Title IX requires? If it is decided that XC would be reinstated would another men's team be on the chopping block in order to stay in compliance? I admittedly do not know a lot about Title IX requirements. If the XC program could figure out a way to be self-funding would it then count in the Title IX numbers?
I have not seen the actual numbers myself, but I have been told by those who have run the numbers that adding men's cross country back would not take them out of Title IX compliance. For arguments sake let's say that adding cross country back would take them out of alignment by a little bit. Coach Mitchell, who has final control over all the rosters, could easily adjust here or there by trimming a few men and/or adding a few women to make them compliant. Having been the coach at Akron for 25 years, they should give him the opportunity to rectify a Title IX imbalance via roster moves if that truly is an issue.
 

runohio

Member
Remember Clayton Murphy also ran cross country
Men's CC results last three years:
All Ohio
2019, 2018 & 2017 - 2nd
Mid American Conference
2019-4th
2018-3rd
2017 5th one point out of 4th
Great Lake Regionals 29 teams
2019-8th
2018-14
2017-13
 
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