5.8.18

THE WEAKEST BOARD IN THE MID-AMERICAN'S FRONT PORCH?

College football season approaches, and Eastern Michigan will still be attempting to be competitive in the Mid-American, although the maneuvering to shore up football isn't doing anything for morale, either in the athletic department, or in the academic bits of the university.
Eastern Michigan has cut four sports from their athletic program, and they have been sued by former athletes, including two women that are claiming discrimination as a result of the aforementioned cuts, per David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press.

The lawsuit, filed in June 2018 by former softball player Ariana Chretien and former tennis player and Czech national Marie Mayerova, comes about after the school cut four programs in a cost-saving effort to offput a substantial budget deficit. The move saved the school about $2.4 million and is paired with several other cuts affecting the academic side.

As part of the move, EMU cut 58 male athletes and 24 female athletes, which is where the brunt of the problem starts to reveal itself.
Sometimes the way to demonstrate the folly of a rule is to comply with it.  Eastern Michigan is not the first Mid-American team, or Division I football participant more generally, to deal with a deficit in athletics by cutting "nonrevenue" teams (the notion of "nonrevenue" being a particular joke in the student-fee-dependent Mid-American) and tossing male rather than female athletes owing to counsel's understanding of Title IX.

When a Hustle Belt columnist, which is to say, a sports enthusiast, notes that even a shored up front porch on a rickety house isn't working, you have a problem.
EMU, it has to be said, has its own set of problems which has led them to this situation. The atmosphere around the program has been fairly hostile from within, with students and faculty often clashing with administrative officials over the athletic budget, especially the football program, which up until recently, was regarded as a cursed “sacred cow” by some.

The fact that the athletic budget woes were paired with academic cuts didn’t help the cause, as the school estimated it was set to lose $6.5 million in fiscal year 2018, due in part to a decrease in student enrollment, which fell by 11.6 percent from fiscal year 2014.
It's all a bit much, even for a self-confessed Eagles football enthusiast.
I would try do a better job of promoting women’s athletics. MAC football is king for most of you, and an important enough part of my life that I take time out of my busy day to write about it. Great, now use the fact that “we” are willing to play on weeknights. Instead of asking for more money from ESPN for sacrificing our student’s Saturday football experience, maybe the ADs could say, “Instead of Weeknight #MACtion just being about football, we want that to be a theme with ESPN for basketball, too. Specifically women’s basketball. Of course the other colleges play on the weeknights, and the men, too, so maybe you have Women’s Wednesday, and we get a bone thrown our way once a month.”
None of which will have any effect on student enrollment, or on the activity fees the students pay for the privilege of choosing between a televised game on a school night or, oh, studying.

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