The elimination of the men's baseball and soccer programs at Towson State University is a tough pill to swallow ("Towson president: Cutbacks of baseball, soccer painful but necessary," March 15). It is a great disappointment to fans, the administration, friends of the university and the athletes in these two programs. Yet it is the only viable option if Towson is to comply with Title IX.
Athletic Director Mike Waddell spent a year studying alternatives to cutting the two sports. University President Maravene Loeschke then appointed a task force to review his recommendations. Its members and others examined at least 13 different scenarios before coming to the conclusion that eliminating baseball and soccer was the only way to ensure Towson's compliance with Title IX.
Consideration was given to retaining the two programs but not fully funding them. That would have created a scenario in which our athletes were forced to compete at a very high level without the appropriate support. Another alternative that was discussed involved moving ahead by allowing all the sports to continue as mediocre teams. But that would have negated the strides our basketball and football teams have made in recent years.
Towson is a great university, and its leadership should be applauded for having the courage to face a painful reality rather than kick the can down the road. Should we be frustrated? Absolutely. But better to direct that frustration at the federal mandate that, despite its laudable intentions, could subject Towson to costly lawsuits and cripple all our sports programs.
Moving forward, let us celebrate the incredible academic success of Towson University as well as its recent resurgence in football and now basketball. And let us come together to support our new president and her staff, who in cutting teams that would have been programs in name only chose excellence over mediocrity.
The writer is a member of the Towson University Board of Visitors and past president of the Towson University Foundation.