Five athletic directors in the South Bend, (Ind.) Community School Corporation received notice Monday that their positions would be eliminated, effective at the end of the school year. The five officials include four high school athletic directors, as well as the athletic director to the school corporation at large, according to the South Bend Tribune.
The move was announced in a letter signed by deputy schools superintendent Todd Cummings, who told the affected officials that they’d be reassigned to a teaching position within the school corporation, but at a reduced salary. Cummings cited a number of reasons for the change, including declining enrollment, reduced funding and “leadership’s assessments” of the district’s needs.
Instead of athletic directors, the letter describes a new position called the dean of students and athletics, which will require an administrative license and marry some of the duties of the current athletic director position with other administrative functions, including student management. As of yet, it’s unclear how replacing the current AD positions with this new role will save money.
Bill Groves, one of the affected athletic directors who serves Adams High School, said that he was “shocked” by the move, and told the South Bend Tribune that he often works up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week. South Bend’s schools do not have assistant athletic directors, so much of the work of scheduling, hiring officials and ensuring facilities are ready for play falls to a single person.
“I’ve fought to keep my head above water,” Groves told the Tribune. “Who in their right mind would take a job that’s impossible for one person to do? Nothing runs on auto-pilot. What they’re trying to do will be a step back for athletics.”
Cummings, who will take over as superintendent in the summer, released a statement following Monday’s school board meeting. “These are difficult decisions that we know affect personnel who have been of service to South Bend Schools,” the statement reads. “However, we believe this restructuring is an important step to ensure the future success of the district. We remain fully committed to athletics. New positions will provide greater support and flexibility for both athletics and academics.”