Suffice to say, it’s been a rough week for William & Mary Athletics — perhaps the toughest since the Scandal of 1951.
But we’re not talking about a scandal this time around. This is a different type of pain.
This one is not self-inflicted. Even though it does in fact seem self-inflicted to a large subset of the Green and Gold community.
There’s one camp that says this was inevitable, that this was bound to happen even before COVID-19’s global breakout.
And yes, things did seem to be trending that way, with W&M officials hinting over the past year about the possibility the school could cut back on sports programs.
After all, a small school such as W&M was supporting the highest number of athletic programs in the CAA; objectively speaking, that number didn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
And then we were greeted with a global pandemic, which seemingly sped this whole process up.
The pandemic threw the sports world, both collegiate and professional, into a blender.
Commissioners scrambled, Athletic Directors fumbled, and serious discussions were had at all sporting levels about their futures.
Everyone from Little League to the Big 4 of the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL had these discussions. And W&M was no different.
What was it to do — now facing massive financial shortfalls due to the coronavirus?
Inevitably, William & Mary’s decision came to cut 7 sports programs last week.
In the wake of that decision rose an army of Tribe supporters at odds with the decision — and that’s putting it lightly.
They see Olympic sports suffering at the hands of other sports and the current administration.
They don’t understand how relatively “low budget” sports programs that have been woven into the very fabric of W&M Athletics life and culture can be taken away with the snap of a finger.
From their perspective — take Swimming for example — there aren’t but three combined scholarships across the men’s and women’s teams.
Upkeep seems minimal; and yes, the program is/was in desperate need of a new swimming facility — but alums have noted the success of the program and its recent championships, all coming without adequate facilities anyway.
But what has perhaps irked this group more than anything is the fact that they were never contacted.
Despite W&M saying that it had “turned over every stone” to keep these programs in place, alums claim they were never called to lend their financial support.
But enough from us. As one can imagine, reaction to the decision was immediate and hit social media like an avalanche last Thursday.
We don’t know what the future holds, but if the below assortment of W&M fan reactions is any indication (curated primarily from our Facebook Group — feel free to join), many will fight in hope that serious changes are made.
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