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New Maryland commission to study restoring dropped sports teams

Maryland said today that it has formed a commission that, among other tasks, will recommend which of seven athletic teams – eliminated in budget cuts last June 30 – may be reinstated.

The commission will be headed by Barry Gossett, a regent and top donor, and Linda Clement, vice president for student affairs.

In 2011, Gossett and Clement were co-chairs of the commission that recommended that eight of the university's 27 teams be discontinued because of severe, longstanding budget issues. Seven teams were eventually dropped.

“We had to reduce teams to protect the other teams that are there," Gossett told The Sun recently. "It's like, 'Which is your favorite kid?' You can't answer that question. It may be easier [this time] to pick the winner as opposed to picking the loser."

The new commission was announced today by President Wallace Loh in a written message to the university community. The announcement was not a surprise. Loh had said last month that Maryland might be able to restore some of the sports because of the anticipated financial windfall from joining the Big Ten in 2014.

Loh said in Thursday’s announcement that the new panel will “review the teams eliminated last year due to budget deficits, and recommend which ones should be reinstated, and on what timeline. Given anticipated revenues from the Big Ten, I ask for a plan to ensure the financial health of Maryland Athletics for at least the next two decades.”

The dropped sports were men's tennis, men's track and field (indoor and cross country), men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, women's water polo and women's acrobatics and tumbling.

The 22-member commission is to report back to Loh by June 30.

The commission will have other duties as well, including studying athletics fund-raising and how Maryland can use the Big Ten Network “to tell the University of Maryland story, in academics and in athletics.”

Loh is asking the panel to advise him generally “on how we can maximize the advantages of membership in the Big Ten and the (Committee for Institutional Cooperation) to advance our University’s excellence.”

The committee is the conference’s academic consortium in which member schools collaborate on education and research. Maryland will join the consortium in July 2013 – a year before it begins participating in the Big Ten athletically.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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