Track is Just the Beginning
Athletic Director Dan Radakovich has provided an assortment of reasons for the decision, hoping one will stick.
If Dan is to be believed, it seems cutting the men's track team will carry a vast benefit to the University. It will cover a budget shortfall brought on by extravagant facility renovations for other sports. It will "add to the diversity" of the University by cutting the largest group of minority men outside of the football team, and it will help Clemson meet it's title IX goals by cutting a men's team rather than adding a women's team as the law intended.
Clemson just sent a message to the rest of the country. It doesn't matter how big the budget or how extravagant the facilities, if your team doesn't make money, you don't matter. Clemson claiming the $2 million burden of a men's track team is too much to carry opens the door for other universities to do the same.
Clemson University has a Diversity Problem
Track Brings Opportunity
Going to college is an opportunity for a better life. Among youth sports, track and field stands out as the least expensive sport to participate in at the pre-collegiate level, based on a 2019 survey by the Aspen Institute/Utah State University. The same survey found that low-income children are six times more likely to quit sports due to costs compared to their high-income peers. This suggests that track and field, as an extremely cost-accessible sport for youth athletes, can represent a source of socioeconomic diversity for athletics at the university level. By cutting track, Clemson cuts one of the most accessible sports for low-income children, and the opportunity for them to reach beyond their financial limitations.
Track and Field is consistently one of the most diverse sports across the NCAA. Track and Field is one of two sports that is majority black, and the only sport in the NCAA that is majority black that doesn't produce millions of dollars in revenue for Clemson University. Clemson is sending a clear message that revenue trumps diversity.
Track Brings Diversity
NCAA Sports Demographics:
Sports Participation Costs: