Since announcing the elimination of seven sports programs last month — including men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and women’s volleyball — the College of William and Mary has since promised to engage in a series of discussions with representatives of those teams to forge a way forward.
According to the Daily Press, the meetings arose from an outcry of support for the teams, which has opposed their elimination. The discussions deliver on a pledge made by university leadership, including W&M President Katherine Rowe, Board of Visitors Rector John Littel and athletics director Samantha Huge made to increase dialogue between the university and those opposed to the cuts.
“As a basis for exploring how to meet the holistic challenges ahead, we will engage a core group from each of the seven teams to discuss finances and evaluate prospective financial scenarios,” William and Mary athletics director Samantha Huge said in a statement. “We will engage the Tribe Club Executive Committee in this work with us. All work is scheduled to be completed by November 11, which is the early signing period for letters of intent.”
The proposed cuts, which affect a total of 118 student-athletes, have been projected to save W&M $3.6 million annually. Cutting the sports was deemed necessary amid increased budget deficits, which were exacerbated by the pandemic. Other cost-saving measures include pay cuts, including by Huge herself, as well as the school’s head football and basketball coaches.
In addition to meeting with team representatives, the school will hold moderated sessions to “listen to and discuss our community's different ideas regarding excellence in intercollegiate athletics at William & Mary.
“It will take our entire William & Mary community coming together to find innovative solutions to the issues we must resolve, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with each of you in the coming weeks,” said Huge.