Radford University is under fire for their recent decision to “reconfigure” the athletic program by cutting three sports to make the addition of a women’s lacrosse team.
The decision was announced Tuesday night after the Board of Visitors had voted and approved the changes. These include discontinuing the varsity sponsorship of the field hockey, swimming and diving, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams.
Director of Athletics, Robert Lineburg, has released a statement regarding why these changes are being made.
“According to Sports Marketing Surveys USA, women’s lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport in the United States, and the Big South Conference added women’s lacrosse as a sponsored sport in the 2012-13 season. This decision allows all 16 varsity sports sponsored at the University to compete in the Big South Conference, a valued membership Radford Athletics has maintained since the league’s inception.”
This sweeping reconfiguration will affect the careers of nearly 60 student-athletes, not including seniors who will be done at the end of this season, as well as several coaches and the incoming recruits that have already committed to Radford for these respective sports.
Criticism about these decisions has surfaced on social media and prompted backlash from Radford’s student-athletes and student body.
“RU against Athletics Cuts” is a Facebook page that was created yesterday and has nearly one thousand likes already, while this topic is also spreading on Twitter. Comments include:
“My heart goes out to the Radford University Coaches who have lost their job because of this. I wish you the best of luck,” @IdRatherBeWeird, David Green.
“Completely shocked at the decision RU athletics made. I’m so sorry for the teams that got cut,” @kessiejane11, Kelsey Jane.
“Wait, Radford got rid of three sports for one? Lacrosse? #confused,” @RUstewStew, Radford Student account.
“I love how every sports team is sticking up for the 3 teams that got cut off. #1family,” @daigepoughty, Paige Doughty.
The sponsorship of these sports will cease at the end of their 2013-2014 seasons, making room for a women’s lacrosse team which is scheduled to begin competition in 2016.