Duquesne to cut four men's teams
Share with others:
Duquesne University swimmer Doug McWhorter, a freshman from Charlottesville, Va., couldn't hide his anger Monday night; try as he might, he couldn't veil the contempt festering inside.
"I loved everything about Duquesne," he said, "Up until today, and now part of me hates it."
The flash point for Mr. McWhorter -- and about 70 other male student-athletes at Duquesne -- came Monday, when they were blindsided by the news that the university was cutting four men's athletic teams when this school year ends -- baseball, swimming, golf and wrestling.
Duquesne announced Monday a strategic restructuring of its varsity sports program in what it called "an effort to maximize financial resources and ensure sustained athletic success."
The move will reduce the number of varsity sports from 20 to 16 and keep all related scholarship and operational funding within the athletic department.
It is not known what, if any, impact federal Title IX regulations had in the decision to cut four men's teams but no women's sports.
The school contends more than $1 million will be reallocated annually throughout the athletics program as a result. The program serves more than 475 students with a $10.8 million operating budget.
All coaches of the sports impacted will remain on contract through June.
The student-athletes currently participating in the affected sports who plan to complete their undergraduate education at Duquesne will continue to receive their athletic scholarships at their current levels for a period equal to their remaining eligibility.
For those choosing to leave, the athletic department will assist them in transferring to another school.
Athletic director Greg Amodio commented only in a news release sent out by the school Monday evening.
"Focusing on and strengthening a core group of sports will maximize our ability to compete at the highest level, enhance the student-athlete experience, and better utilize existing funding. ... This action is in no way meant to diminish the dedication, effort or ability of these fine student-athletes, coaches and alumni," Mr. Amodio said in the release. "They have contributed greatly to Duquesne athletics and to the vitality and history of the university."
But now, some of those student-athletes felt abandoned by the university.
Never did Michael Devereaux think he would get the type of phone call he received around dinner time Monday night. It came from his son, Duquesne sophomore baseball player Rick Devereaux.
Short, to the point, the message went something like this: "Dad, the school is dropping our baseball program at the end of this year."
With his father already speaking in the past tense about the school, it seems as if the younger Devereaux, who receives some scholarship money, most likely will leave Duquesne.
"This is very disappointing," said the elder Devereaux, of Oakdale. "My son is a good player, not a blue chip player, not a five-star recruit, but he found a school that he liked close to home and then this happened. Like I said, it is very disappointing, and we don't know exactly what we are going to do."
Paul Bugajski, a senior baseball player from North Huntingdon, was irked by the timing of the news.
"Why would they wait this long to tell us?" he said. "When was the decision made to do this? They didn't decide [Monday] and tell us the same day. Why did they let us get new uniforms, why did they let us spend the money on this upcoming season and have a budget? They should have told us sooner."
Mr. Amodio, in the release, said the decision was well thought out and best for Duquesne's remaining programs.
Mr. McWhorter, the swimmer from Virginia, said he can't envision a college experience without swimming and will most likely transfer at the end of this year.
He remembers arriving at Duquesne in mid-August in anticipation of what the next four years would bring.
"I have only been here for a little bit," Mr. McWhorter said. "And now, they are ripping our team apart. We are all just devastated."
First Published January 26, 2010 12:31 am