My name is Jack Mackey and I’m a senior here at William & Mary. I am also a student-athlete on the men’s cross country and track and field teams. And I’m a double major in English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.
William & Mary Athletics proclaims to boldly pursue excellence through the core values of accountability, belonging, creativity, integrity, and service. The department’s decision to cut 7 varsity athletics teams three weeks ago falls egregiously short of these values.
There was no integrity behind the decision to inform the 118 student-athletes and 13 coaches affected by the decision through a zoom call that lasted a little more than 5 minutes for each team. Nor was there any when the department’s written statement on the matter openly plagiarized sections of a similar announcement made by Stanford University over the summer.
No creativity seems to have been deployed in order to accommodate for the relatively low costs incurred by these 7 teams. Instead, William & Mary has opted for a vision that conforms to normative attitudes about revenue-earning sports, seemingly lacking the imagination to boldly pursue excellence.
This decision has been made only in the service of the Athletic Department’s financial bottom line, one which completely neglected to involve the affected athletes in any kind of conversation about financial difficulties prior to teams being cut.
And as much as Athletic Director Samantha Huge writes about taking responsibility for this decision, she has neglected to openly discuss it with athletes until next week, during a moderated Q&A, nearly a month after the announcement was made.
Perhaps most importantly, though, the sense of belonging within Tribe Athletics has been destroyed. Though I am leaving this school in the Spring, I very much looked forward to seeing what my teammates were going to accomplish in the coming years. My teammates and I no longer have that opportunity here at William & Mary, and I no longer feel at home at Tribe Athletics.