The University of Richmond recently announced last week that it will be dropping the men's track & field program (as well as men's soccer) in favor of starting up a men's lacrosse program. The decision has caused quite a bit of blacklash as expected from University of Richmond's current track & field athletes and coaches as well as alumni of the program, but the frustration and disapproval of the University of Richmond's decision has grown beyond those it immediately impacts to the student body and faculty of the school as well as those beyond in the track & field community. The Virginia high school track & field community is large and has had many of its top prep athletes as well as coaches attend, compete, and graduate from the University of Richmond, so the loss of the men's track & field program would be a huge loss for current and future high school athletes in Virginia to receive a top notch private university education and further develop as athletes in this Olympic sport as well as end the great pipeline of coaches which have come from that school in the form of its past student-athletes. On Sunday evening at 5P until 6:15 PM within UR's Ukrop Auditorium, a newly formly organized called UR - Save Our Sports will be hosting a public meeting and forum to hear from those who formulated the current plan to drop men's track & field and soccer and add men's lacrosse as well as those who oppose the plan and present to show their support.

It would be a huge boost for the efforts if many Virginia high school coaches, athletes, and parents can attend this forum to show their support for the coach Steve Taylor and the University of Richmond men's track athletes. After losing the James Madison University's men cross country and track program several years ago and now University of Richmond men's track program on the chopping blocks, opportunities are continuing to decreasing for high school track athletes to continue their athletic careers in college. Our state cannot afford to lose many more of our Division 1 track & field programs. Its a slippery slope right now in the college athletics scene with greedy administrations and boosters forgetting the original purpose of athletic programs at their schools as it seems that money outweighs integrity, honesty, transparency, and academic reputation. Many are hiding behind Title IX to justify cutting non-revenue men's sports to expand their major revenue or more so big budgeted sports like football. There is a strong public perception in this case that the administration and board of trustees was basically bought by a significant donator to bring men's lacrosse into the school (at the expense of men's track and soccer), which the school has unable to strongly dismiss that claim or perception. 

In the spring of 2011, the University of Richmond men in had the highest GPA's in the entire country for any Division 1 track & field program. Their program qualified for NCAA Nationals in cross country as recent as 2010 and been a consistent top tier program within the Southeast region without the help of athletic scholarships. In the program's glory days back in the 1970s and 1980s (when they had scholarships) under Coach Fred Hardy, they were a national powerhouse including at one point setting a world record in the 4x800 meter relay. Their program has been comrprised of truly student-athletes. They have had several athletes qualify for NCAA Nationals in track & field in recent years and sent athletes regular to compete for Team USA in the World Mountain Running Championships each fall.

An online petition (link below) has been started in support of the UR men's track & field program and at last check, signatures were approaching 10,000! Sign the petition below as a supporter of track & field and the common good of the sport. Virginia high school track & field needs and benefits from this collegiate program in our state! Be there on Sunday at 5 PM if you can!

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