Wednesday, February 7, 2007

RunOhio's Efforts

Track & Field coaches, athletes and friends Please get involved to SAVE TRACK & FIELD

By Matt McGowan

February 2007, RunOhio

Ohio University has announced it plans to drop its 100 year old Men's Track and Field program. If they drop track and field they will join Bowling Green, Toledo, Ball State, Western Michigan, Marshall and West Virginia who all dropped track and field in the last few years. The Ohio University Board of Trustees plans to vote on this recommendation by mid February.

What can YOU do?

1)Write the universities Presidents, Athletic Directors and Trustees members to voice your concern, this is especially important if you graduated from the university, recommend students to go to the university and if you or your business donate money to the university.

2)Write a letter to your Ohio congress/senate members and voice your concern. To find your representatives go to - and then type in your zip code.

3)Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and voice your concern.

4) Pass this information on to as many friends as possible and ask them to do the same

There are 728 boys' high school track and field teams in Ohio according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Of the twelve boys Championships the OHSAA sponsors, track and field has the third most schools sponsoring a team. Only basketball and baseball have more high schools represented in OHSAA than track and field. With the popularity of high school track and field one wonders why this sport is being cut.

One of the reasons Athletic Directors look to cut track & field is that they count indoor and outdoor track and field as two sports. As a result, you can reduce the number of men participating in intercollegiate athletics by 45-55 - twice. It would be my suggestion to drop indoor track and field as a sport but not outdoor track and field.

I feel a college should take a close look at the diversity of a track and field team. A few years ago an African American trustee at a &S tate University& spoke out loudly about not dropping track and field, as it was one of the main sports that had a large number of African-Americans and minority students on the team. He pointed out how this school's overall African-American and minority student population was low. He stressed to his fellow trustees that it would be a bad policy to reduce the opportunity for minorities. This university kept track and field.

Track & Field is the oldest sport known to mankind. There are more countries participating in track and field in the Olympics than any other Olympic sport. Running is a lifetime sport and we need to do more to get people in Ohio and the U.S.A. fit and healthy

If a university needs to increase the number of women participating in intercollegiate athletics I suggest changing cross-country to cross country/distance running for women and hire an extra coach or two to help expand the program. I am sure with a little effort the coaches can get 40-85 women running in the fall.

With YOUR help we can work to SAVE TRACK & FIELD !!

Matt McGowan, Editor/Publisher RUNOHIO

Here is my letter to the Ohio University President and Trustees...

Dear Dr. McDavis:

As a former college cross country and track athlete, a brother of two Ohio University graduates, the editor/publisher of RUNOHIO and as a high school teacher and cross-country and track coach in the Columbus area, I hope you will look at the overall negative impact to Ohio University if you vote to drop Men's Outdoor Track & Field.

When I think of Ohio University I think of the oldest university in the Northwest Territory, which has a strong tradition of academics and athletics. I also think of a Men's Track & Field program that has been part of the university for over 100 years.

I hope before you vote to drop Men's Track & Field you will take a look at why Miami University did not drop their Men's Outdoor Track & Field program. It is my understanding that one of the main reasons why Miami University did not drop track & field was they saw it as one of the programs that attracted minorities to the university. One of their Trustees was able to convince their Board that it would not be a smart decision to drop the sport. Miami University kept Men's Outdoor Track & Field.

Track & field is the oldest sport known to mankind. Track & field has more countries in the world participating in the Olympic Games than any other sport. In Ohio there are 728 boys' high school track & field teams. Only basketball and baseball have more schools sponsoring a boys' team than track & field. The Ohio High School Athletic Association State Track & Field High School Championships will celebrate their 100th anniversary this June. There are nearly 2,000 members of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches. Most of these members are teachers in Ohio high schools and have a tremendous influence on high school students. I would think that there are more Ohio University track & field alumni than any other group of athletic alumni at Ohio University. There are probably 30 - 45 students whom are walk-ons participating on the men's track & field and paying tuition to Ohio University. In my experience I have found that the cross- country and track & field teams have some of the highest grade point averages and graduation rates of all intercollegiate teams.

It is my understanding that since Western Michigan University dropped a number of men's athletic programs three years ago, there has been an uprising of alumni and that teachers and friends have held their donations to the university and encouraged high school students not to attend Western Michigan University. It is also my understanding that their enrollment is down nearly eighteen percent since they dropped a number of their men&s athletic programs.

I think if you look at the impact of dropping Men's Outdoor Track & Field at Ohio University you will realize that it does not make educational, economic, business or political sense. I hope you will vote to keep the Ohio University Men's Outdoor Track and Field program.

No comments: