I sent my latest payment to the Direct Loan Servicing Center on Monday as I continue to chip away at the money I owe for my education at Towson University. Thankfully, I received a good deal of financial aid from my parents and was able to get through college in 3 1/2 years, making my loan payments a bit lighter than some of my fellow alums.
During my time at Towson, the university was undergoing a huge overhaul to its campus. They rolled out a brand spanking new College of Liberal Arts Building, built a slew of new dorms in the West Village and have prepared for a 5000-seat arena opening in 2013.
Admittedly, I’m excited about this expansion for my Alma mater. As a sports fan, I’m eager for them to build up the basketball program and I’m proud of the transformation of the Tigers’ football team under Rob Ambrose. I was thrilled to see LSU on the schedule this season — and hey, Towson only lost by 16.
But the news of Towson potentially cutting its baseball program is inexcusable.
As reported in Baseball America, the athletic department recommended a proposal to cut baseball and men’s soccer after this academic year. The proposal is pending final approval by the university president in November.
While Towson’s baseball team hasn’t been to a regional since 1991, they have recently produced a major league talent in Casper Wells of the Seattle Mariners. (There’s also Charles Cononie, a Rays Single-A prospect suspended for meth, but we’ll stick with Casper for this argument).
Mike Waddell, Towson’s athletic director, said the cuts will save the University roughly $800,000 and will help them comply with Title IX legislation, “which calls for the athletic program representation to remain consistent with the school’s 60-40 female-male student ratio.”
If Towson is hurting for money, it certainly never showed during my years there. Students were spending $30 on cases of Gatorade, being overcharged for textbooks and repeatedly fined with parking violations by the university’s police force of meter maids.
True story, I was sick over a weekend and parked my car in a lot close to my dorm building after running to a drug store. On Sunday it snowed and I was unable to move my car back to the further-away lot I had paid for with my parking pass. Two days went by and there was still no clear path back to my spot. I returned to my car on Wednesday and had three yellow envelops with $225 worth of parking tickets on my windshield.
This was the norm when I was student. Every Towson alum has a parking horror story.
I’m in no way suggesting that Towson could help keep the baseball program afloat with the money they rob from students on parking, but I do think that if they underwent this heavy expansion of the school at the cost of two athletic teams than it wasn’t really worth it.
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf reports that Towson’s athletics department received $510,000 from their football game in Death Valley against LSU.
Students have started online petitions to save the program, but Aaron Fitt writes that “they face an uphill battle.”
I can’t imagine an empty John B. Schuerholz Park, the place that I would often to stop on spring days in between classes to watch Casper and the Tigers for a few innings.
I’m sad that my beloved TU would let that all go.
UPDATE: An emailer named Jamie points out to me that Schuerholz Park is prime real estate for Towson to use in its continued expansion. Cutting baseball allows for even more expansion.