Bring back the six sports impacted by the St. Edward's University Athletics budget cuts
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This new year was supposed to bring victories, defeats, joy, laughter and a drive to be part of something bigger than just sports here at St. Edward’s University. This new year was supposed to bring a family. Instead, we have been given a year filled with disappointment and sorrow with the COVID-19 pandemic. Early this morning the athletic department at St. Edward’s sent an email out to six athletic programs detailing that they would be making cuts to the athletic department starting with six teams.
“I am writing to you with difficult news. As the impacts of the coronavirus continue to affect our personal lives and every sector of the economy, St. Edward’s must make difficult but financially sound decisions for the future of our institution. I announced today that the university will discontinue six athletic programs: men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf and men’s soccer. We will transition Cheer to a club team under the guidance of the RecWell Department.” This was so sudden and shocking that at the time there were no words to describe the difficult situation the coaches and student athletes that were affected were put in. There many people and groups affected by this decision including the student athletes, coaches, St. Edward’s community, alumni, the Austin community, and the greater athletic facilities of Austin.
The ultimate goal of this petition is to achieve enough signatures to prove to the University, SEU athletics department, and the athletic directors (Melinda Terry and Debbie Taylor) that these six programs should still be part of the St. Edward’s community.
With this news, there were a few questions that arose. Why these six sports programs? How did our athletic department come to this decision? What is the main problem behind the scenes? Did the athletic department give any thought to this decision and how it may impact the future of the school? We have been given no clarity as to why these decisions have been made so abruptly. I think there is a bigger problem at the top of the spectrum with them having no accountability for their program that needs to be addressed and may result in a different outcome. Life as we know it has changed drastically in the last month with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will pass. We feel this decision is drastic, rash, and will have irreversible effects on the University and their athletic programs.
For the sake of all those affected, the athletic department needs to come up with a better “financially sound” solution for budget cuts to benefit all programs at St. Edward’s. One option might be finding a new avenue for funding to better accommodate each team. As of right now, when alumni decide to donate to a sport it gets thrown in as a donation to the athletic department as a whole. Does that really work? If a men’s soccer alumni wants to donate to his old team, should it go to other sports as well? These are questions that need to be addressed and answered. If we succeed in our goal things can go back to normal, but with new restrictions and changes to the athletic department; fewer and cheaper uniforms, cheaper hotels, finding different traveling avenues, and even spending less on food when teams are on the road. If we do not succeed, we are deprived of many things. We are deprived of our student athlete experience and our determination and hard work for these programs going down the drain. We are deprived of the relationships we have created with our teammates, coaches, other students and faculty in the St. Edward’s community. Lastly, we are now forced to look for a new path or direction if we choose to continue our athletic careers during this dreaded pandemic.
Like previously stated, the biggest loss from this whole situation is the family that is being torn apart here at St. Edward’s. We should be building bridges as a University instead of tearing them down. As a player that has been affected from this decision, I am completely devasted with how rapid these changes have been made. One day I was practicing with my teammates, my brothers, and preparing to make a run for the NCAA title and the next day our season and on-campus opportunities get cut due to COVID-19. Waking up this morning from a message that our program is being cut was a nightmare. The student athletes of these six programs vied for championships and ran their bodies to the ground all to make the St. Edwards’s name proud. How can something you work so hard at be taken away so quickly?
On behalf of the men's golf team and the other five sports impacted, please help us spread the word and create awareness of how this crisis has affected us as student athletes.
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