Saturday, April 23, 2011

MSU- Mankato Got Screwed

It’s that time of year again:  the time when we all tune in to the college swimming message boards to see which coaches were fired, who is moving on to where, and which programs are being cut this year.  I have to admit, I sink into a little bit of a depression, partly from the let down of championship season being over, and partly from the thought of so many swimming careers coming to an unexpected end by the announcement that a team has been cut.  

When a swimmer has dedicated years to their swimming and to representing their school,

they want to end their career in a good way; on their terms, saying goodbye to their sport and their school with fond memories to take into the rest of their lives.  No one imagines that it will be their sport and their school saying goodbye to them ahead of schedule and leaving an open wound on their heart.  

When a school makes these cuts, obviously there has been talk within the athletic department for some time, yet it is always a surprise when the announcement is made.  It has to feel the same as when your girlfriend dumps you, and then you find out all of your friends knew she had been seeing another guy for a few months before she could build up the nerve to let you go.

So when I read that Minnesota State- Mankato actually saved their program I was pumped!  After Clemson and so many others are told that the decision has been made and there is no sense in trying to generate support, it was awesome that MSU-M were able to come up with a plan and get the necessary votes from the student body to save their program.  They actually showed that the students of that University appreciate them and want them to stick around.

Way cool.  A school that actually cares and listens to the concerns of students.

Of course, then University President Richard Davenport just up and changed his mind.  

What?!  Changed his mind?  Overturned a vote that reflected the will of the student body?  Can he do that?  

Would anybody really be bothered by pitching in 75 cents per credit hour to keep teams around that contribute to campus life and represent the university in a traditionally healthy and academically conscious sport?  They voted that they want to pay it!  $20 a year is about what they would pay for one meal at a restaurant.  Students like to know specifically what fee increases are for so they know they are not dumping money into the void.  You are not running a corporation.  You are running a University and the focus should be on student learning and student life.  What is the big deal?  Let the fee increase stand as approved by the students!

This takes the breakup metaphor to a whole new level.  This is kind of like your girlfriend dumping you, then you finding out that everyone knew she had another boyfriend for months, then she comes back to you for a couple of days just so she can throw a party at your house with all of your friends to announce her surprise engagement to the other guy.  

…and then she kicks you in the balls with all of your family and friends watching.  Seriously.  That is what it must feel like.  I am sorry, guys.  I wish there was something we could do.

Mr. Davenport, don’t blame this on budget cuts.  Give us a real reason.  If these kids found a way to bring in the money, then budget cuts are obviously not the issue.  Own up to it.  

What a filthy abuse of power.  You should be ashamed of yourself.


  1. Not normally one to support presidents who cut swimming, but there are a couple of things here - only 12% of the students turned out to vote, most of whom would appear to have a very, vested interest in the referendum. With a 58%-42% split that means the vote came down to a difference of about 300 votes.

    Additionally, you had members of the coaching staff offering extra credit for those who voted in favor of the resolution. That is awfully disingenuous.

    If the students voted for free tuition, that would probably pass as well. Should the President not veto that resolution?

  2. they shouldn't have had a vote if they weren't going to honor it. voter apathy is pretty common in just about any vote anywhere... especially over something that amounts to $20 per year. isn't it more likely that 88% of students don't see that amount of money as a big deal? Really, would you get out of bed and walk across campus to vote down something that cost you $20 added to your tuition bill?