UNCW cuts men’s indoor track program

Joe Lowe | Staff Writer

On Monday, Feb. 10 UNC Wilmington students and faculty were notified by email that the men’s indoor track team is no more, as a result of Title IX rules.

Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in 1972, bringing about the rule of equality among athletic opportunities for both genders.

A part of this rule is the mandate that schools must provide athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the undergraduate enrollment. UNCW’s gender proportions are uneven at sixty percent women and forty percent men. Per the rule of equal opportunities to equal undergraduate enrollment, somebody had to go, and unfortunately that was the men’s indoor track team.

The track team was notified of the news last Thursday, only four days before it was officially announced to the school. Jim Sprecher, head coach of the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track teams, is not happy about the cut. But he understands the necessity of downsizing.

“Having your sport dropped is never a positive move, but considering it is what they had to do, we will continue to compete for championships and move on,” Sprecher said.

Many may remember when last summer UNCW administration contemplated discontinuing the men’s indoor track and cross country teams, men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams and the softball team. These cuts would have benefited the UNCW athletic department financially, saving up to $800,000 annually if cut. However, with the support of UNCW students and faculty, those programs were not discontinued.

Despite losing the indoor track team, all runners were recruited and will run both indoor and outdoor track events. No student athlete will lose their scholarship or stop running. Sprecher and his staff will continue to coach the team as before. As a result, the overall athletic budget won’t benefit from the loss of this sport either. Sprecher also claims the track team will not be affected.

“It doesn’t affect their schedule at all. We have 18 meets split between indoor and outdoor. For us we have been running a minimum number of indoor meets anyways,” Sprecher said.

While this sport was not cut based on financial means, it still does make a statement. UNCW athletics is downsizing based on the Title IX rule. Such a ruling leaves the possibility of another cut open for question.