Today’s si.com column …

… is an extremely personal one for me.

I was not an especially good runner at the University of Delaware. Truth be told, I had little business being part of a Division I program. But Coach Jim Fischer wasn’t a guy only looking for the fastest and strongest. He was a man who majored in self-improvement and inner-strength; who wanted competitors who believed in themselves and ran with passion and dignity.

I learned more in my one year running as a Blue Hen than I did in all my high school seasons pieced together. That Delaware is dropping men’s running kills me.

It absolutely kills me.

20 thoughts on “Today’s si.com column …”

  1. Where are the cross-country attendance numbers? Oh, they don’t support your slant against the football program.

    Try this out. How many students ponder going to UD because of the TV coverage the football team gets? Coverage for the team is publicity for the school. Every time somebody chats about DELAWARE’s Pat Devlin on ESPN (from now til draft day) it’s publicity for the school.

    Too bad you had to “lump in” a silly slander of the football team with a nice story about your cross-country days.

  2. It really sucks; I had friends on the team at UD when I was there. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be a part of the program; I’m sorry for your loss.

    Curious if you could expand on alternatives to cutting the team to save money. UD really had been far from compliance with Title IX, and had to add a women’s golf team earlier this year to partially make up the gap.

    What do you think about the idea of exempting football, since it has so many scholarhips, from Title IX? Or capping the funding differential at 50-50, men-women?

    Thanks for your time.

  3. Concerning Title IX; many Universities have pretty decent women’s track and Cross Country programs alongside the men’s.
    They share the facilities.

    How many women play football?

  4. Oregon Running back LaMichael James ran for the Oregon track team last year.
    When I was young I still remember the trill of watching Mel Renfro (NFL HoF) running for the Ducks, setting a world record in the 440 relay.

    Seems to me football and track go hand in hand.

  5. It’s sad to see some of the Olympic Sports being cut at different Universities across the country but to lay blame at the feet of the football program seems a little misplaced. Division 1AA football teams are limited to 63 scholarships so there is a good chance a lot of those kids, like yourself, are walk-ons looking for the opportunity to work hard do something for a little while longer that they truly enjoy.

  6. Why so much hatred for the University that gave you the education to pursue your dream? A lot of anger there Jeff….UD is no different from the other IAA programs. In fact after the cutback UD still has more NCAA sanctioned teams than any other school in the CAA…. just can’t figure your agenda.

  7. Thanks for writing that column, though I was stunned to hear they’d do this.

    It’s all about money, not the athletes… anybody who spent any time hanging around Carpenter or the Field House with the runners would see how much the university got for a small investment.

    Coach Fischer was great — I loved my two years at Newark running for him. LONG LIVE UDXC!!!

  8. Feel free to visit the website attached to determine who really cared enough about UD Track and XC to support the program, or really for that matter, their university enough to financially support it.

  9. I was saddened, but not surprised, to hear this. Why is it that runners are constantly fighting against those who don’t think we deserve anything while some other sports constantly feel as if they deserve everything? I’m sure it is the same for many other sports out there (e.g., swimming and diving & gymnastics).

    I thank you for writing an article about this on a highly visible platform. I hope that those who have posted somewhat aggressive responses realize you are just very saddened to see something you love dearly be taken away for motivations that don’t seem particularly well guided. The CAA will miss you.

  10. Jonathan,
    Clicked your link and learned something.
    Thought it was “Delawarites” just learned it is “Delawarians”. Often wondered how that debate (from Taxi) turned out.

  11. When my friend first told me, I said stop and please don’t tell me they trotted out some Title IX bulls***. Of course I screamed when he told me they did. I was a grad student when Coach Fisher came aboard in 1982 and he always let me train with the team and I was impressed with how he handled all the guys down to the last runner. A big blow to a great man and UDXC everywhere. I do not know how those guys sleep at night. Maybe they dream of the 5th kicker…

  12. It is sad to hear that another school is dropping their Track and X-country programs. It seems like only yesterday that another D1 program (Univ. of Utah) was doing the same to boost their football budget. To this day I have to walk away anyone brings up U football – which isn’t easy considering I’m from Utah and constantly surrounded by U fans.

  13. Rich, how many of those walk on football players (60% of which are admittedly on some form of scholarship) make the deans list every year. My school posts a banner each semester with every student athlete who made a 3.3 GPA. Men’s Cross Country usually have 3 times the athletes on this list compared to football despite having less than half of the roster size.

    Being a STUDENT-athlete means that the academic half of your collegiate life should be more important than school publicity. I believe that many AD’s usually forget this factor which is why Track/Cross Country is generally one of the first programs to be cut when the chips are about to be down.

  14. I have had discussions with athletic representatives (presidents and ADs) about the purpose of athletics. The D1 belief is that athletes are brought in to promote the university and are paid with an education. The D3 belief is that athletics can be an integral part of a student’s development. UD has fallen for the D1/TV company propaganda that football success leads to more students on campus. I hope this is embarassing enough to make them rethink the move.

  15. Rutgers did much the same thing to Mens Swimming several years ago. The fact that they claim to have a “Big Time” football program and lose money to compete in lower tier bowl game every year is criminal. I believe I read the cost to maintain the mens swimming program was under $400,000 per year. What do you think it costs them to operate the practice bubble?

  16. As a UD Alum who knew personally guys who were on and are currently on the UD Track and XC teams, I am saddened to learn that these programs are cut. I used to see Coach around the Field House and always heard what a wonderful man he was. The loss of this program is upsetting to say the least.
    However, as a former member of the UD football team, I must say that I am disturbed that an alum and fellow student-athlete would throw his journalistic integrity out the window and, dare I say knowingly, misrepresent the truth and present blatant lies to blast the one athletic program that has a rich history of success and brings money and publicity to the school. The statement that UDFB does not make money is completely untrue as a simple 5 minute search of the Office of Post Secondary Education website would prove. I know because I, a simple-minded former football player, took the time to check the basic facts. And not surprisingly, the website proves that the football program made a net of about $1 million for the school this past season.
    I hope this article is taken for what it is – a feeble attempt by an upset, and probably rightfully so, former UDXC runner who is looking to point the finger at someone and find someone to blame for the cutting of his beloved sport. Rather than blame the football team, Pearlman should of used his time to right a worthwhile piece on Title IX and it’s affect nationally on collegiate athletics and offered viable and real solutions to the issue.
    Go Blue Hens!

    1. Sorry, Brad, but you’re wrong. First off, the Office of Post Secondary Education website has much incorrect information—including the Delaware football program’s profits. I checked directly with the athletic department and, specifically, the sports information department, and was told that—unambiguously—the football program does not/has not made a profit. (as a simple-minded former football player who surely knows people at the school, you might want to go directly to the source before trusted an oft-misleading document that doesn’t take all fiscal factors into consideration. Or you can just be lazy and blast the messenger). Second, Title IX is certainly flawed, but its being used here as an excuse to cut a program. The NCAA has not one time hounded/approached Delaware about any Title IX issues since the school added women’s golf several years ago. Not. One. Time.

      Truth be told, Brad, football causes so many athletic department problems across the country, it’s ludicrous. Why does a team need to use 100-plus roster spots? Why does a team need 14 (fourteen!?) coaches? Why does a team need a $5 million budget? And, Brad, surely you can do the math: Delaware has a 20,000-seat stadium. While it “technically” sells 18,000 … 19,000 tickets per game, a whole load of those are student allotted (a misleading way to report sellouts). So if you’re a D I-AA program playing in a 20,000-seat stadium, not selling out and not earning big paydays by making visits to D-I stadiums to be massacred by Michigan or USC or whoever, how the hell do you make a profit?

      And next time, do some research …

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