A movement is afoot at Clemson to have the university’s men’s track and field and cross country programs reinstated.
A group of Clemson track and field alums, current athletes and parents, released a video on social media Thursday calling for the reinstatement of the programs. The video suggests that the decision to cut the programs is racist, as it takes potential opportunities from current and future Black athletes.
.@ClemsonUniv has a history of exploiting black labor for profit. The recent decision made by @ClemsonDRad @ClemsonTigers & @ClemsonPrez to cut men’s XC/Track & Field only aligns with this tradition, let us explain...— #SaveClemsonXCTF (@SaveClemsonXCTF) December 2, 2020
stand with us go to https://t.co/1ctqWaE0Sd pic.twitter.com/EpsBzVAqjV
The video comes nearly a month after athletic director Dan Radakovich announced plans to discontinues the programs, citing financial impacts of COVID-19. Radakovich said the cuts will save the university about $2 million toward an estimated $25 million shortfall.
While Clemson's athletic department plans to reinvest the savings from track into other athletic department initiatives, including Olympic sports, #SaveClemsonXCTF believes that is “literally taking money from Black athletes and transferring it to its white athletes."
The video says that discontinuing the track team impacts 67 percent of Clemson’s non-revenue producing Black male athletes and 3 percent of the university’s Black male students. It goes on to say that 92 percent of NCAA Division I Black male athletes are on track, football or basketball teams, and “By cutting track, Clemson is cutting the only sport where they cannot make money from their Black athletes.”
In an open letter published in part by SI.com that explains the cuts at Clemson, Radakovich wrote: "In our long-term planning, we looked at the changing demographics of the Clemson campus. Of Clemson's men's sports, only men's track and field and cross country could provide the Department with both substantial cost savings as well as the ability for long-term Title IX compliance."
The #SaveClemsonXCTF group was formed on Instagram on the same day that Radakovich announced the cuts to track and field and cross country. A petition that was started on Change.org to save the programs has garnered more than 30,000 signatures.
Related content: Clemson to Discontinue Men’s Cross Country, Track and Field