Student athletes petition to restore cut sports programs

Members of the Temple University men's gymnastics team gather in a huddle before a 2012 home meet at McGonigle Hall. Temple announced that it will be reducing the number of varsity sports teams from 24 to 17, eliminating men's gymnastics, baseball, softball, rowing, men's crew, men's outdoor track & field and men's indoor track & field. Highly accomplished coach Fred Turoff has been head coach of the men's gymnastics team for 38 years.  The gymnastics team is among those impacted by the cuts. Credit: Paige Ozaroski
Members of the Temple University men’s gymnastics team gather in a huddle before a 2012 home meet at McGonigle Hall. Temple announced that it will be reducing the number of varsity sports teams from 24 to 17, eliminating men’s gymnastics, baseball, softball, rowing, men’s crew, men’s outdoor track & field and men’s indoor track & field. Highly accomplished coach Fred Turoff has been head coach of the men’s gymnastics team for 38 years. The gymnastics team is among those impacted by the cuts. Credit: Paige Ozaroski

In 24 hours, petitions to revive crew and gymnastics programs cut by Temple University has received 3,000 signatures.

“My original target was 5,000,” said Mario V. DiCarlo, a sophomore who participated in crew in his first two years at Temple. He started the petition to save men’s and women’s crew. “But I don’t think that’s enough. I think we should shoot for 10,000.”

Temple officials announced on Friday that it planned to cut seven intercollegiate sports. The changes take effect on July 1.

Baseball, softball, men’s rowing, women’s rowing, men’s gymnastics and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field were eliminated. The cuts will affect just about 200 student-athletes. About nine coaches will lose their jobs.

In a news release, Temple vice president and director of athletics Kevin Clark said the cuts will save the athletics department about $3 million.

“Everybody is just really shocked and upset, and everybody is just coming together,” said DiCarlo, 19, of Roxborough. “And it’s not just our two teams that are coming together, it’s the whole athletics as a family. Even the guys from teams that are staying, they have all reached out to us. …They don’t want to see us leave either.”

Petitions for gymnastics, which has been a part of the university for 87 years, and for crew, both have garnered about 3,000 signatures as of press time.

Temple officials cited escalating costs – such as funds needed to build the crew team a new boathouse on the Schuylkill River – as the main reason for the cuts.

In the aftermath, crew will most likely become a club team. Temple is allowing them to keep all of the equipment.

But DiCarlo said the university still needs to get the message.

“I just want to get it out there and let everybody know that nobody wants this to happen,” DiCarlo said. “I don’t think it was a great decision. I see why they did it, but at the same time I think there are other ways where we can keep the sports that got cut and find another $3 million.”

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