It is incredibly disheartening to hear the leadership of William & Mary let down their community with their decision to cut track and field. William & Mary being steeped in a rich history is the main reason I wanted to work there to be a part of a community that took pride in the Tribe.
I invite anyone to take a look at William & Mary’s website where they state the Vision, Core Values, and Goals. This move contradicts what they claim to stand for. Does this boldly pursue excellence? The answer is NO, you just got rid of the top achieving teams in the classroom and the competitive realm. Are they making a positive impact in a complex and changing world? The answer is NO, as the world got more complex and changed, you decided to take a short cut and cut programs rather than work hard for a comprehensive solution. With Core Values of Accountability, Belonging, Creativity, Integrity, and Service. Have they upheld those values? The answer is no, instead you got rid of the teams on campus that most effectively upheld those Values, both the staffs of those sports and the student-athletes. Not only did this move highlight hypocrisy, but showed they couldn’t recognize it in those they decided so easily to cast aside for misaligned priorities.
William & Mary spent hundreds of thousands to third party consultants over the last 10 years creating and crafting these vision/mission statements along their core values which they haven’t adhered to when times have gotten tough. Another representation of spending money in the wrong places when they could have talked to the coaches and student-athletes to come up with the same buzz words to ignore when times have gotten tough. Poor fiscal decisions should not be taken out on coaches and student-athletes -- it should be taken out on those making the decisions.
This move was absolutely tone deaf to what is going on in our culture today. Cutting a team of young men that are the most diverse Olympic sport on campus spits in the face of the movement against systemic racism. Track and Field is a sport available to all and a gateway for people around the world and country regardless of where they are from, what their income, what the color of their skin, gender, or preference. This sport is beautiful because you are judged purely on your performance which is you against you and your opponent. You get out of this sport what you put into and the marks achieved always represent the level of preparation put into it. That is the best example for life.
This decision needs to be re-examined and reconsidered to move away from hypocrisy.
Former W&M Men’s Distance Coach
American Record Holder