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Maryland Athletic Department Undergoing Budget Cuts: Football Loses $301k, Basketball $137k

So, uh...yeah. Via the Sun:

"The discretionary spending of fans is the first expense to go in times of financial stress," [senior associate athletic director Randy] Eaton said in an e-mail reply to Baltimore Sun questions. "That becomes a considerable concern for those of us in Division I intercollegiate athletics settings, where our budgets are largely dependent on ticket sales, merchandise and concessions."

Overall, the football budget - $9.7 million for 2009-2010 - was reduced $301,535, or about 3.1 percent, Eaton said.

Men's basketball, which has a $4.4 million budget, was trimmed $137,786, or about 3.1 percent. Women's basketball saw its budget - about $2.6 million - cut $61,583, or about 2.4 percent. Specific cuts for both basketball teams will be determined after their schedules are released, Maryland officials said.

Other sports are affected as well. "We sought reductions of 9 percent of operating budgets from our Olympic sports," Eaton said. The Olympic sports include swimming and diving, track and field, gymnastics, tennis and other sports.

Some universities have resorted to eliminating athletic teams. The University of Vermont dropped baseball and softball earlier this year. The University of Washington dropped men's and women's swimming.

Said Maryland athletic director Deborah Yow: "I'm pretty steadfast on the 27 [sports]. We're just going to get through this period."

I don't think there's any argument about Eaton's statement. This was, truthfully, inevitable. With the way the economy's been, most athletic departments haven't stood a chance, and Maryland's no Ohio State or Florida, either. The total figures are below:

Sport Current Budget Reduction Percent decrease
Football $9.7 million $301,535 3.1
Men's basketball $4.4 million $137,786 3.1
Women's basketball $2.6 million $61,583 2.4


And yes, before anyone can make a joke, women's basketball saw the smallest cut, which is no surprise given Debbie Yow's history with that program.

While some people might consider cutting sports instead of cutting costs, how would you do that? How would you decide which to cut off? Do you just list the non-revenue sports and pick some? As much as it pains me, I have to say Yow's right. Unless straits become extremely dire, I can't see cutting a sport, regardless of how irrelevant it may seem. People likely based at least part of their college decision on their sport. Now you're going to tell them it doesn't exist? And if you give, say, a four or five year period until it dies out, the economy will have (hopefully) picked back up again by that point. Cutting just doesn't make sense.

This was something that probably had to happen. Yeah, it sucks, but it's nothing to get upset over - the same thing is happening all over the country. It's just something we'll have to live with.