By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tensions ran high at Temple University’s regularly scheduled Board of Trustees public session today.
The Board was hoping to move on its recent decision to cut seven sports programs (See Related Story). But there an elephant in the room — in the form of dozens of athletes who make up those teams. They were looking for answers. But all they got was a brief statement from University President Neil Theobald, who said that the athletes and coaches were the victims of Temple’s overreach.
“Our student athletes and coaches were casualties of Temple University’s overreach in trying to operate an athletic program beyond its facilities and resources, which caused us to be out of compliance with Federal law,” Theobald said.
Gymnast Alex Tighe shook his head as he walked out.
“They gave two 30 second comments about us and that was all. I’m sure they were preparing for us to come in here and make a presence and I think we got a message across by having 150-200 athletes in the room,” Tighe said.
The university is offering to answer athletes’ questions in private. Matt Hockenberry, a senior baseball player says his team has plenty.
“We’re looking for ways to save the program, the criteria, what financial needs we need, what other women’s teams have to be brought back as well to balance out the Title 9 issue,” Hockenberry said.
These student athletes say they will continue to fight to save their respective programs.