This meeting between Bernard Muir, the University of Delaware athletic director, and various Blue Hen runners (and the people who love them) took place a couple of days ago. It’s sort of painful to watch, in that the initial guy with the mic needs to allow the AD a chance to answer, and the AD is squirming like a half-dead trout.
What’s obvious here is the battle that takes place on college campuses every day: Marginal, low-income sports vs. existence. That this is happening at Delaware kills me because I am a former Blue Hen and, more than that, a former Blue Hen runner. Even though I’ve been out of school for (egad) 17 years, and even though, as a sports writer, I’ve heard all the reasons sports like track and XC are cut (budget issues, Title IX issues, indifference issues), I fail to fully understand. The mens’ cross country program costs Delaware $20,000 annually. Twenty thousand dollars.
When Muir says it’s a Title IX issue, well, he’s not being truthful. The NCAA hasn’t threatened Delaware with anything, RE: Title IX.
So why this decision? I’m not sure. My guess, however, is that it has something to do with Delaware’s increasingly inevitable move to Division I football.
Again—just a guess. But, I think, a strong one.
Whatever the case, I would never donate to Delaware’s athletic programs again.