For the past several months our campus has been dealing with a proposed recommendation from our athletics leadership to reconfigure the intercollegiate athletics program to address three issues facing the university: long-term financial stability and affordability; compliance with Federal Title IX requirements; and the ability to be competitive in NCAA Division I athletics.
Last October, I announced that the athletics leadership recommended the discontinuation of menís soccer and baseball and the addition of menís tennis as the most viable way for Towson University to resolve these three issues.
With this recommendation in-hand, I initiated the creation of an Athletics Task Force to conduct an external review of all of the information presented and asked for additional public input. After receiving the final report of the Athletics Task Force, which ultimately supported the original recommendation, I conducted my own assessment of all of the information put forth in the report so that I could confidently render my final decision for the university.
I have carefully examined all data, facts and budget projections used in the athletics proposal and task force report. After meticulous review, with internal and external financial analysts and with experts in Title IX, this analysis has confirmed that the discontinuation of baseball and soccer and the addition of menís tennis is the optimal solution to achieve a balanced annual athletics budget, achieve Title IX compliance, and ensure that our athletic program can be competitive in Division I and the Colonial Athletic Association.
It is with confidence, but great sadness, that I accept the recommendation to discontinue the baseball program at the conclusion of this season and the menís soccer program, effective immediately.
The process has been lengthy and challenging for many in our TU community, especially for the 62 student athletes in these programs. The seriousness of this situation required this extended amount of time to thoroughly analyze each and every suggested option in order for me to come to this conclusion.
Now, I am asking the entire Towson University communityófaculty, staff, students, alumni, and friendsóto join me in reaching out to all of those who are directly impacted by this decision.
To the student-athletes in these programs, alumni and all past and present coaches, we hold tremendous pride in you. Your legacies will forever remain at Towson University. For those athletes choosing to stay at Towson, we will honor all scholarships and continue access to the full complement of student-athlete support services available. Our Director of Athletics and his staff will ensure that all affected student athletes have the assistance and guidance they need, whether they choose to continue their studies at Towson or transition to another intercollegiate athletics program.
Finally, I thank everyone involved in this arduous process for the compassion, hard work, and patience demonstrated throughout these several months.
I thank those who devoted vast amounts of time to the financial and Title IX analyses. I extend great appreciation to the athletics task force, to the external analysts, and the University System of Maryland. I also thank all of those who offered feedback, alternative options and heartfelt opinions.
Let us unite behind these student athletes while also uniting behind a sustainable, compliant, competitive, and successful athletics program at Towson University.