Source: Temple reconsidering decision to cut 7 sports

Source: Temple reconsidering decision to cut 7 sports
January 29, 2014, 10:45 am
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Temple president Neil Theobald on Tuesday met with representatives from the seven sports Temple plans to cut in July. (AP)

Temple University president Neil Theobald and other school officials met Tuesday with coaches and students from the seven athletic programs Temple is scheduled to eliminate this coming July.

The university announced in December its plans to drop baseball, softball, men's rowing, women's rowing, men's gymnastics and men's indoor/outdoor track and field.

But a source present at Tuesday's meetings told Comcast SportsNet that Temple's board of trustees is reconsidering whether it should cut the sports after all. The board is expected to meet and make its decision within the next two to three weeks.

Students and coaches made presentations on Tuesday, lobbying for their programs to continue and attempting to show how each sport could be funded.

After the meetings, Theobald said in a press conference, per the Temple News, that although he believes Temple is "right" where it is with the size of its new, smaller athletic department, he is "open to all ideas" regarding the future of each program. Theobald did reportedly stress that nothing has changed at this time.

“The board made the decision,” Theobald said. “The next step is I will go back and review everything today, and if there are to be changes, I will make a recommendation to them. But at this point, we’re right where we were.”

The current plan is for the university to "bridge fund" each sport for the next four years, honoring its scholarship commitments to its student-athletes and allowing each sport to temporarily carry on at the club level.

The cuts, if Temple goes through with them, are expected to save the athletic department between $3 and $3.5 million annually. Approximately 150 student-athletes and nine full-time coaches are affected.

Theobald did say during the press conference that he was presented with some new information on Tuesday and that "he learned a lot" with regard to the specific financial situation of each team -- specifically the rowing team and how much it would or would not cost to build a new boathouse. Other sports have been able to cover portions of their future operating budgets through fundraising.

That said, Theobald expressed a wariness when it came to those sports being allowed to fund themselves.

“I think that runs into an equity problem," he said.