About TU


Athletics Task Force

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which teams were proposed for discontinuation?
According to the recommendation, the baseball and men’s soccer teams will be discontinued during the 2012-13 academic year. The men’s soccer team will be discontinued at the end of the fall season, while the baseball team will conclude following the 2012-13 competitive season. Men’s tennis (discontinued after 2003-04) will return as a sponsored sport in 2013, for the NCAA Division I minimum standard of six (6) men’s sports.

2. How did Towson's athletics leadership team reach this recommendation?
The primary reasons for this reconfiguration were the financial impact of having seven men’s sports, the history of and opportunities for competitive success, and Towson's ability to comply with Title IX now and in the future. The athletics leadership team evaluated the athletics budget over the past 18 months and had several reviews of the best options to make the athletics program financially stable. After extensive consideration and research, the team collectively came to the decision that discontinuing men’s soccer and baseball were the most viable options due to the size of the teams and number of scholarships.

3. Who is affected by this recommended reconfiguration?
There are 60 student athletes – 36 in baseball and 24 in men’s soccer – who are directly affected by this recommendation. Additionally, two head and two assistant coaches are affected. We are extremely thankful to these athletes, coaches and administrators for their hard work at Towson, and, if necessary, we'll work with all of them to ensure they can successfully transition into the next phase of their lives, whether it be at Towson or another institution.

4. What will happen to impacted student-athletes?
The university will honor current scholarships for impacted student-athletes for a maximum of four years as Towson students. The athletics department will also provide assistance to any student-athletes interested in transferring to continue their athletic pursuits elsewhere. Per NCAA rules, student-athletes who transfer because their athletics program has been eliminated will be able to compete immediately.

5. What are the circumstances that led to this recommendation?
With the recent economy, increasing costs, furloughs and changes in fiscal policies at the university, Towson Athletics is facing difficult budgetary times. For our athletics program to be successful, it is imperative that we develop a sustainable financial model that is less reliant on general fees.

At Towson, we try to support as many athletics programs as possible, and currently sponsor 20, which only trails Delaware in the CAA. Unfortunately, a school like Delaware has an annual operating budget roughly $11 million more than Towson. As budget levels and sports sponsorships were examined, it became evident changes would need to be made in order to become more financially independent. These adjustments will position us to reach our goals: regularly competing for collegiate championships, providing student-athletes with a first-class experience – both on the field and in the classroom – and meeting long-term Title IX requirements.

6. Can the public raise funds for the baseball and men’s soccer teams to avoid elimination? Unfortunately, no. While we find it admirable that there are fans, parents and student-athletes willing to try to fund the programs themselves, this recommendation is much more complex. Towson Athletics came to the recommendation to discontinue these sports after an extensive review of the athletics program as a whole. Additionally, the recommendation supports the goal for sustained success of the program well into the future.

7. Have other sports been discontinued previously at Towson?
In the past, our athletics department has dealt with similar situations as we face today. The following is a summary of the sports formerly sponsored, the year they started (to the best of our knowledge), and the year they were discontinued:

 

Sport Year Started Status
Wrestling 1926 Cut after 1981-82
Track - Outdoor - Men's 1940 Cut after 2003-04
Tennis - Men's 1947 Cut after 2003-04
Cross Country - Men's 1956 Cut after 2003-04
Gymnastics - Men's 1969 Cut after 1983-84
Track - Indoor - Men's 1976 Cut after 2003-04

 

The additions of women’s soccer in 1992 and women’s golf in 2007 were for Title IX gender equity compliance purposes and increased female participants in the athletics program. In both cases, Towson was a member of a conference that sponsored each sport. As such, there were competition and conference championship opportunities available immediately.

8. Can student-athletes affected by this recommendation compete on the club men’s soccer and club baseball teams?
Yes, absolutely. Interested athletes can contact Towson Associate Athletic Director Margie Tversky, who will personally help them transition to a club or intramural sport. Her phone number is 410-704-3285 and her email is mtversky@towson.edu.

9. What is the financial impact of this plan?
There will be a net savings of $488,758 by the end of fiscal year 2014, and a net savings of $800,083 by the end of fiscal year 2018. These savings will help our athletics department considerably, and will be reallocated to other sports to ensure our athletes receive first-in-class experiences.

This reconfiguration will also allow 16 of Towson’s 19 sports to be fully funded and to reach the maximum NCAA scholarships allowed by those sports. Towson Athletics will be able to create more competitive teams, which should garner higher ticket sales, increase corporate sponsorships, and bring in more gifts to the program. The higher revenues will limit general fees and let the department become more financially independent.

10. Which sports will the university continue to offer?
To remain a member of the NCAA at the Division I level, the university must sponsor a minimum of six (6) men’s sports and eight (8) women’s sports. After these proposed changes, our program will move from a 20-sport program to one that sponsors 19 intercollegiate athletics teams (6 men’s and 13 women’s). These sports include: men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming/diving, cheerleading, women’s cross country, field hockey, gymnastics, women’s soccer, softball, women’s track and field, and women’s volleyball. Additionally, a head coach would be hired to oversee the men’s tennis program, and the current head coach for the women’s program would become the director of tennis.

11. How will Towson compare financially against its peers in the Colonial Athletic Association?
This recommended reconfiguration will help bring Towson University Athletics much closer to the average spent in the CAA, and will rank us No. 11 out of 16 CAA schools. We believe this will greatly increase our competitiveness in all athletics, and will help to improve ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and fund raising efforts.

 

Rank School Annual Budget
1. Delaware $35,251,221
2. JMU $31,143,588
3. Villanova * $29,523,919
4. ODU $27,308,713
5. New Hampshire* $27,292,423
6. Georgia State $22,678,186
7. Northeastern $22,050,696
8. William & Mary $21,773,983
9. Rhode Island* $21,107,828
10. Richmond * $20,511,418
11. TOWSON $18,562,422
12. Hofstra $17,415,091
13. George Mason $16,426,175
14. Drexel $16,407,746
15. Maine * $15,936,344
16. UNC Wilmington $11,388,089

 

* Football Only Member

12. Were Title IX implications considered and will Towson be compliant?
Both the athletics department and the university have a strong commitment to gender equity and compliance with Title IX. In order to conform to the law, universities must meet one of three tests for participation – proportionality, history and continued practice of program expansion, and full accommodation of athletic interests and abilities. Based on the sport-reduction recommendation and roster management, the university will be in Title IX compliance through proportionality, which states that male-female participation numbers must be “substantially proportionate” to their respective full-time undergraduate enrollments. The current undergraduate gender ratio is 60 percent female and 40 percent male (Fall 2011).


13. Wasn’t the university already in compliance?
The university was previously in compliance by “history and continued practice of program expansion.” This practice requires the department continually add a women’s program on a “regular basis.” Continuing to comply with this part of Title IX would require us to take current resources and divide them further amongst all the teams. By attaining proportionality, the department reaches a safe harbor and will not have to further divide resources.

14. Will other actions need to be taken to make Towson Title IX compliant, such as squad limits?
In order to meet the proportionality standard, the department has been working with coaches to closely manage squad sizes for its intercollegiate teams. Some teams will be allowed to increase their rosters, while others will have a reduction from current levels. Similar decisions will also be made regarding scholarship allocations.

15. Why can't roster spots be taken from other teams, or cuts be made across all sports, to avoid the discontinuation of these sports?
To take away roster spots from other teams, or across the board, would decrease the competitiveness of the Towson Athletics program. Towson competes as a member of NCAA Division I and in the always-competitive Colonial Athletic Association. Our strategic goal is to construct a basic infrastructure from which each program that we sponsor has an opportunity to compete for championships.

16. Several students on the men's soccer team are international students. How does Towson plan on helping those students move forward?
Towson will help all affected student-athletes that these changes impact move forward. All current levels of financial aid will be continued through the student’s graduation at Towson. If the student chooses to leave Towson, our coaches and administrators will work with them to find a new home for both academics and athletics.

17. Has there been any thought of increasing male enrollment to the school so the sports can fall in line with Title IX without discontinuing sports?
Towson’s enrollment breakdown is 60 percent female and 40 percent male. Our enrollment projections for the next 10 years do not indicate there will be any significant percentage change in the near future.

18. Can another women’s sport be added to help Towson comply with Title IX without discontinuing these sports?
While Title IX was certainly a factor in this recommendation, it wasn’t the only one. It’s crucial our athletic department accomplishes three goals; becoming fiscally sound, compliant for the long term and more competitive across the board. Adding a 21st varsity sport would put an even greater strain on critical resources such as annual operating budget, academic support, student services, sports medicine, facilities, and strength and conditioning. Continually adding sports to stay compliant and avoid discontinuation will make it difficult to have an infrastructure that enables every Towson sport to compete for championships, which is very important for us.

19. Why were millions given to the new Tiger Arena when the athletic department is in current financial distress?
No athletics general budget money has gone to the construction of Tiger Arena. This campus venue has been financed through bonds and will be paid for by Events and Conferences Services, as this building will host many different types of campus events.

20. Will any student-athletes, or men's soccer/baseball alums, be on the task force?
Alumni from both men’s soccer and baseball will be a part of the task force, while all student-athletes will have the opportunity to share their concerns with the group.

21. What is the $510,000 earned from playing the football game at LSU being used for within the athletic department?
The net proceeds from the 2012 football games against LSU and Kent State were placed into a general revenue line that supports the entire athletics program here at Towson.

22. What are the budgets of the football and men’s basketball teams and how much do they bring in for Towson?

FY13 Basketball Projected Revenue $234,500 (tickets, parking and guarantees)
FY13 Basketball Operating Budget (including salaries) $1,032,386

FY13 Basketball Scholarship Budget

 

$442,975
FY13 Football Projected Revenue $1,060,750 (tickets, parking and guarantees)
FY13 Football Operating Budget (including salaries)
$1,745,625
FY13 Football Scholarships Budget $1,664,687



Both football and basketball are very important sports for our athletics program as a whole. They bring a great deal of exposure to our university and are critical to the advancement of Towson Athletics.

23. If these sports needed to be discontinued, why has men's tennis been added back?
The NCAA requires a minimum of six (6) men’s sports in order to compete in Division I. Men’s tennis will be reinstated, having been discontinued following the 2003-04 academic year, and will be a strong sport to add to our athletics program.

24. Why wasn't men's basketball chosen for discontinuation, due to their lack of success recently?
Men’s basketball is the sport that has the greatest potential for generating revenue for Towson. Historically, Towson men’s basketball has made the NCAA Division I Tournament on two occasions, in 1990 and 1991. With the opening of Tiger Arena in 2013 a strategic emphasis has been placed on both the men’s and women’s basketball programs to achieve at a championship level.

25. Is there concern that eliminating these sports will negatively impact overall enrollment in the future?
Any time a university makes changes such as these there are challenges that must be faced. In the history of Towson Athletics, there have been six (6) sports teams discontinued (full listing in question No. 7). After each instance, we’ve consistently had excellent applicants enroll for the university. We don’t foresee that changing.

26. Is Towson the only school that has discontinued sports in the CAA?

Over the past 20 years, the CAA has had 29 teams dropped, while adding 18, for a net of -11 teams.

 

School Added Year Discontinued Year
Delaware W’s Rowing 1997 M’s Cross Country 2011
Delaware W’s Golf 2012 M’s Indoor Track and Field 2008
Delaware     M’s Outdoor Track and Field 2011
Drexel     M’s Cross Country 1997
Drexel     W’s Cross Country 1997
Drexel     M’s Track and Field 1997
Drexel     W’s Track and Field 1997
Drexel     Baseball 2003
Drexel

    Volleyball 2003
Drexel     M’s Squash 2010
Drexel     W’s Squash 2010
George Mason


W’s Lacrosse 1994    
George Mason W’s Rowing 1997    
Georgia State W’s Soccer 1994    
Georgia State Football 2010    
Hofstra W’s Soccer 1993 W’s Gymnastics 1992
Hofstra W’s Golf 1995 Football 2009
James Madison Softball 2002 M’s Archery 2007
James Madison     W’s Archery 2007
James Madison     M’s Cross Country 2007
James Madison     W’s Fencing 2007
James Madison     M’s Gymnastics 2007
James Madison     W’s Gymnastics 2007
James Madison     M’s Indoor Track and Field 2007
James Madison     M’s Outdoor Track and Field 2007
James Madison     M’s Swimming and Diving 2007
James Madison     M’s Wrestling 2007
Northeastern W’s Soccer 1996 M’s Swimming and Diving 1992
Northeastern
    W’s Gymnastics 1996
Northeastern     Football 2009
Old Dominion W’s Soccer 1994 M’s Cross Country 1992
Old Dominion W’s Golf 2004 W’s Cross Country 2001
Old Dominion
W’s Rowing 2008    
Old Dominion
Football 2009    
UNC Wilmington W’s Soccer 1994    
Virginia Commonwealth
M’s Track and Field 1991    
Virginia Commonwealth W’s Track and Field 1991    
Virginia Commonwealth W’s Soccer 1995    
William & Mary     Wrestling 1995

 

27. What does “proportionality” mean?

Proportionality, in terms of Title IX, refers to providing athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment. Our current enrollment is 60 percent female and 40 percent male. Moving forward, compliance with federal law, along with long-term financial stability and competitiveness for our athletics program, are the guiding principles of the university.

28. Will the athletics student fee go up?

There are no plans to raise the student fee for athletics.

29. Towson has always said that they’re a student-centered university. Doesn’t discontinuing two sports programs contradict that statement?

We certainly understand how the impacted student-athletes involved could feel that Towson does not support their needs. It is the responsibility of the administration to address difficult decisions that are necessary for the overall current and future health and sustainability of the students as a whole over time. At times these decisions lead to situations that feel contrary to a student-centered philosophy. Unfortunately being student-focused does not mean that all students will agree with all administrative decisions.

30. Does the state of Maryland fund university athletics programs?
No. University System of Maryland Board of Regents policy states that athletics programs can only be supported by ticket revenue, general fund raising, and student fees.

 


 

 

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