COLLEGE PARK—The University of Maryland held back letters of intent to high school recruits in three sports -- men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving, and women’s water polo -– an indication that those teams could be eliminated, school officials said.
Not sending the letters as part of an early signing period means that those teams are likely on a list of recommended cuts to help stem the athletic department's budget woes.
But no final decision has been made on the cuts. That will ultimately be up to President Wallace Loh.
Maryland's athletic department, led by athletic director Kevin Anderson, currently has 27 athletics teams.
People associated with the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams launched a Facebook site – it had more than 5,700 members – to support those programs.
“UMD's (college park) swimming and diving programs might get cut after this season due to budget debt. Join and add your friends and show them your support,” a message on the site said.
A commission studying athletics budget issues was created in July. It is examining conditions that led to the athletics department having to employ now-depleted reserves to balance the annual budget. Officials said the issues date back years.
The commission, which is studying ways to boost revenue and cut costs, will issue recommendations by Nov. 15 to Loh.
It is not known how many teams will ultimately be cut. But officials said it won’t be more than 10.