Fate of NCAA gymnastics, boxing, fencing and rifle team

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by MombaBomba, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    I recently received some distrubing news, that the USAFA has proposed cutting the following NCAA teams from the USAFA for both men and women (where applicable):

    gymnastics
    boxing
    fencing
    rifle team

    I don't understand this as olympians, national champions, and world ranked competitors have come from the USAFA. Just recently, in the 2012 Olympics, graduate Capt. Seth Kelsey came in 4th in the men's epee event. A recent USAFA facebook announcement was junior Meredith Carpentier becoming America's top shooter in the world. Why cut such programs which produce world class people? These people showcase and demonstrate the exceptionalism of the USAFA. Please show your support for these sports. They are as important to showcasing the USAFA as football and the other "main stream" sports.
     
  2. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Hi Momba -- What is your source of information here? I had heard rumblings of budget cuts that would affect NCAA sports but nothing I heard actually identified specific sports. Thanks!
     
  3. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Not revenue sports but all have had some great champions in the past ten years. Would be a shame if USAFA, or any service academy, or any college, went to all money-makers.

    Would like to see where the info came from, as this gets bandied about every few years.
     
  4. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    My son is a candidate and would be effected if such a cut would happen. So we were informed of the possibilities, as it could impact the academy's acceptance of him and his decision (if accepted). He would rather attend the academy than another college, even if his sport is cut. He waited contacting other college coaches until he knew what was going on. Having been informed of this, he has more aggressively sought out those other college coaches. "Be prepared" is the motto of the day. So he would still love an appointment and hopes that the USAFA doesn't cut his sport. I don't know if my and my son being informed by the coaches that this is a possibility counts as "verifiable" in anyone's world. I just know that we had to act on what we were told, and share the news with others who might be affected. I have written my representatives in congress regarding this and am hoping that perhaps they can help. My son will also be writing them as well.

    These "niche" sports are just as important as the "main stream" sports. I hope others write their congress people to show their support of all these sports.

    Good luck to all those candidates out there, and a big ole CONGRATULATIONS to those who have already been accepted!
     
  5. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    This is unsettling news and will certainly affect potential applicants. Think of the high school juniors and seniors who have already committed to the academy for their sport and have given up opportunities to attend other schools on scholarship. Terrible news if true.

    I wonder if any of the other service academies are considering eliminating these sports?

    This decision would directly affect my family and it infuriates me that they would even consider doing this. We had the oppurtunity to commit somewhere else and that chance is obviously long gone. IF the academy is really considering doing this they should allow the athletes that are already on campus to finish out their careers.

    Another example of changing the rules in the middle of the game.
     
  6. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Thanks for sharing, Momba. The fact that this information has been shared with you during recruiting indicates that the coaches are taking the possibility seriously and being forthright with you so that you explore other options, which I think is the only ethical thing to do. I don't think they would tell you if they didn't see it as a real possibility, as it would undermine their recruiting. I think it's great that he is considering his sport as only a part of his decisionmaking process. Good luck to him, and you, during this crazy time!
     
  7. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    Unfortunately, it appears the USAFA is taking the same road and out look as its collegiate peers. If the sport is not a money maker, it is expendable. Many colleges and universities have cut and continue to cut "niche sports" because they don't generate revenue. This clearly sends the message that the only sports that matter are football, basketball and hockey. In this day and age of fiscal issues, those are going to be the ruling sports for years to come. There is no apparent analysis of what other positive attributes these "niche sports" bring to a college. I would think having recent Olympians and the number one USA woman rifle marksman would be seen as incredibly positive advertising and publicity. I know my son became aware of the academy during national competitions because he would see competitors with USAFA jackets and stencils on their uniforms. I know of several other boys and girls who also became or are currently interested in applying to the academy because of seeing and meeting these USAFA competitors.

    As far as I am aware, the cut is not yet official. My understanding is it has been proposed by the superintendent of the academy, and has been presented to her superior. Perhaps if enough parents and students write about their support for these sports, they will be saved. I don't know what will happen to the current cadet sports participants. Perhaps the USAFA will permit them to continue as a club. Some colleges do allow the cancelled NCAA sports to continue as a club, and some just allow those currently enrolled in the sport to continue their participation while not recruiting and not permitting incoming freshman to join the team.

    This cutting of "niche sports" is a USA collegiate issue, not just an academy issue. Until enough parents, students and others get involved and demonstrate the need for, demand for and value of these sports, they will continue to be cut.

    Please show your support.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    No flaming please, but if the niche sports are costing more money than the revenues, AND with the DOD budget being slashed to the point O2s are eligible to be RIF'd, where do you see the money coming from to keep the programs.

    I am not trying to be antagonistic. I am just trying to see how you can save niche programs. The SA's priority is not to create an Olympian, but an officer in the military. The SA is not like colleges and they can say increase tuition by X amount to cover the loss of the niche sports. They are handed a budget by the AF from the DoD. They have to stay within those numbers.

    If they have to cut 10% like the DOD, and these sports are already losing money, should they keep them when as I stated their mission is not creating Olympians? I get the makes a better officer argument, but money has to be cut.

    Where would you make up the difference? What at the AFA would you cut?

    I have no bone in this fight, just seeing it from a taxpayers perspective. I just see this as balance sheet issue. The sports targeted are already in the red and the AFA is subsidizing them. They can no longer afford to subsidize them without damaging the AFA in other areas, which would also impact more cadets than the niche athletes. Should they set the thermostats lower, to save heating costs? Yes, that is an extreme, but I think you get my point. If it costs 50k for one of these niche sports, and their revenue is 5k' they need to find 45k to cut to make their budget. Where do they cut without impacting more of the cadets?

    OBTW, one of our best friends was an AFA gymnastics recruit. Class of 81.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    I think that General Johnson has been getting feedback/support regarding these (and other) proposed cuts at USAFA which why this letter was posted on the USAFA FB as well as emailed to all the USAFA Parent's clubs.

     
  10. MilitaryBound2018

    MilitaryBound2018 Member

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    Agree 100%. The SA are designed to produce well trained officers, not to produce Olympic athletes. My DS will go to SA to become a leader, not just excel in a niche sport. If you want a niche sport, great, go to a school that offers you that opportunity, but don't take a SA spot away from a cadet who wants to protect and fight for his country. My DS enjoys several niche sports and would enjoy doing them at the academy, but that is hobby. His goal is to serve our country, BIG difference...
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Budget cuts sound so much easier until they hit close to home. As a USAFA parent I don't like to see athletic programs being cut. But I agree with PIMA because other more core programs are being affected as well. DS wanted to be Cadre for the cyberware class that has traditionally been offered in the summer but the program was canceled for this summer even though cyberware is in the AF mission. So if some athletic programs must be cut to maintain the core programs which support the mission of USAFA and the AF then do it.
     
  12. haleym

    haleym Member

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    I guarantee that if they do cut these sports, it's simply because there's not enough money to support them right now. USAFA values all of its athletes, and they are not the only ones hurting from the cuts. There are rumors that the environmental engineering and english degree programs may not be around much longer.
    Is it unfortunate that it may come to this? Yes- no one wants to see these programs go for any amount of time. They bring entertainment to the cadet wing and allow athletes to continue growing in their sport. Changing the rules in the middle of the game? No. The Air Force is cutting 25,000 airmen. Those are real people losing their jobs, people we could use in combat zones. There is no point in trying to argue with these cuts when we could be losing 5% of our Air Force. The academy has to take some hits. That's just the way it is unless the AOG can afford (and chooses) to continue to fund things that the tax payers can no longer provide for. If you should be writing anyone, it is them. They have a lot of power here on the hill. That is my recommendation. There is much more to this than the collegiate issue you are seeing- this is an issue with the federal budget. I understand why you are upset, but I think your anger has some misdirection.
    More importantly, the end goal of the academy is to produce officers of character. The NCAA and club programs we have are a bonus and a priviledge. The sports are without a doubt valuable, but they are not necessary when we are looking at the big picture. Although USAFA has produced world class athletes, that is not the reason people should choose to come here. This is a reality check for some recruits and cadets. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a sport over a commission from the academy, but at the same time, USAFA should not be your #1 choice if this is the case. This is the military, where (at times) it seems you signed up for some of this uncertainty.
    As a side note to parents, please remember this is your child's entire future, not yours. There is no WE when committing to USAFA- there is only your child, and it should be strictly their decision no matter what. Keep this in mind and leave it entirely up to them. It is extremely disheartening to see my classmates struggle with a life they did not choose for themselves and one that their parents do not have to live through every day. This is not targeting anyone nor is it meant to upset anyone- it is just a statement of fact. I hope you understand my point of view on this one.
    Alright, now that I've written a novel containing my personal opinion, please keep in mind that a decision has not been made on this subject yet, so there is still hope! Like I said, I believe the best course of action should be to contact the AOG and see how they feel about the matter if it does come down to this point. I wish all of you and your kids the best of luck- and I can't wait to meet them if they decide to join the family! :thumb:
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Haley,

    +1

    There is always talk of helo parents. I am not saying that any parent wanting to save the programs are helos.

    I am saying that it is up to cadets to storm the Supe's office and demand that they save the programs. Not the parents. The military cuts out the parents as soon as the child hits 18.

    I will add one more thing as a Mom of a DS at UPT and had flights cancelled due to maintance issues, in 5 years from now the perspective will change. If the AF has to cancel training flights because the DoD is spending money on NCAA sports that are in the red, they would say kill it even if they were on that team.

    Reality is this is the 92-94 budget all over again.

    Haley, it is not 5%, but 8% for ADAF. There will be a RIF board for AFROTC400s. Aka C1Cs at the AFA. That is how deep these cuts are.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  14. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    as BCT cadre haley? LOL JK.
     
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The only support that will make a difference in keping some of these sports is monetary donations. Phone calls and letters will not get blood out of a turnip when the turnip is close to dry.
     
  16. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    I think all the posts have proved my point. It is all about the money. But I would like to clarify my position as a parent and a tax payer.

    1) I don't believe the academy is in the business of producing Olympians and/or national and world champions. What I believe is they could capitalize upon having such stellar athletes. It could be a public relations dream. But if they cut the teams those athletes competed in, it removes the effectiveness of publishing their achievements. (Though it should be noted that the military does have a special program for those military members who are considered Olympic contenders.)

    2) Why gymnastics, boxing, fencing and rifle? Why not water polo, lacrosse, golf or tennis? Those are also some of the other "niche sports" at the USAFA. But they could be next if things continue as they are. (I am not suggesting they should be cut instead of the other 4. I am merely pointing out it could be a future possibility if budgetary issues continue as they are.)

    3) Historically speaking, many "niche sports" get cut because of over runs in the football budget. Cut back spending in football next year or cut another smaller sport? Football can generate money and the other sport can't, thus that sport has to go. Did football over run its budget? Football is one of the most, if not the most, expensive sport any school (high school, junior high school, college) can have. I am not saying it happened in this case. But it is a problem that all schools/universities face at some point or other. Again, it's all about the money.

    4) Perhaps the academy has weighed the pool of applicants these types of "niche" sports attract, and has decided that the pool isn't really necessary. Perhaps it attracts a far better pool of candidates through football, basketball and hockey. The pool of candidates in water polo, golf, tennis and lacrosse may tend to be deeper than other "niche" sports. These extra pools may be seen as superfluous. I have no idea, as there is no criteria out there which to go by. Once again, I am not advocating cutting those sports instead. But the questions do come to mind as there is no specified criteria.

    5) As nice as it would be to say attending the academy is entirely the candidate's decision is rather short sighted. Any one attending a rigorous university requires family support. Support isn't necessarily about money, nor is it about being a helicopter parent. It is about encouraging them, letting them know people believe in them during those moments they question themselves. Almost every person on the planet has faced a moment of doubt which was over come in part by the encouragement and support provided by family members and friends. How many candidates would have pursued attending the academy without the support and encouragement of their parents? How many candidates at one point or other needed to hear "we believe in you, you can do this?" The final decision is the candidates, and no one should have to attend a university against their will or better judgement. Having said that, I do know of people who attended a university they didn't initially want to, but then ended up loving it and thriving.

    6) My son is interested in the academy because he wants to make the air force his career. The fact it had his sport was a dream. He is willing to give up years of development (time, travel, lessons, practice, turning in papers early, taking tests before the rest of the class, missing family events and parties, studying instead of going out, etc.) if accepted to the academy and it has cut his team. He also realizes if he is accepted and his sport is no longer included, then he will lose his ability to compete as effectively in the future. Anyone who has dedicated years of their life to a sport or activity in the hopes of competing in college will understand what my son is willing to give up. This decision is not a simple one for any of the dedicated "niche" athletes who are looking at the academy.

    7) It takes more than just "students storming" the building to keep something in a university. The students represent the here and now. While parents and the public represent the future. It takes a concerted effort by all parties. It is why I asked for people to contact their congress members. After all, it is congress who establishes the budget which drives the USAFA. If enough voters starting hollering about spending cuts and their impacts, it could cause congress members to allocate more funds. Or if enough publicity is generated, it could cause people to make donations directly to the USAFA in support of these sports.

    8) I see this as a teaching moment for my son. An insight into what it is like in the military. How budgetary issues impact day to day experiences. Admittedly, not being able to participate in a sport pales in comparison to not being able to fly or having the proper equipment, etc.. But it is a tangible, here and now, microcosm of what is to come. The importance of being able to accept and adapt to whatever vagaries of life are thrown your way. How much does being in the military mean to him? Is it worth the sacrifice? Any time he has spoken to a military member, he has asked what is the most difficult challenge they faced. Many of them spoke of being far away from home, not seeing family, of giving something up, etc. Now he has an idea of what they were talking about.

    Again, good luck to all the candidates looking to attend, and to all the cadets in their future endeavors. I hope for my son's sake he is given the opportunity to become a cadet.
     
  17. haleym

    haleym Member

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    Have you actually looked up how much these sports on the chopping block cost the academy? Believe it or not, the Air Force actually makes well thought out decisions when it comes to things like this. OF COURSE it is all about money. If there is none of it, what else can you do? Cut leadership development? Cut MORE airmen so your son has a chance to play a sport at USAFA? You are not seeing the big picture- the academy itself IS the military. It is defined, under law, that you are active duty upon entering. USAFA's budget is apart of the DoD's budget. Your argument is completely invalid because you have no information to back up your stance nor do you have an answer, aside from cutting spending for football- which is a program that generates revenue.
    "As nice as it would be to say attending the academy is entirely the candidate's decision is rather short sighted." This is one of those moments where I literally looked at my computer and said, "are you kidding me?" My parents had no impact on my decision to go here. Were they supportive? Of course. Coercive? NO. They didn't cheer me on every day or ask if I got a letter in the mail. They didn't make it seem like they'd be less proud of me if I didn't make it or chose another path. They were supportive of me being happy. NOTHING else. Your statement HIGHLY concerns me. Apparently my point of view is short sighted even though I am a reapplicant, spent a year of my life prepping, and am currently attending USAFA and see the effects of this EVERY DAY. If you think for one second that people come here not wanting to and eventually love it, you are incredibly wrong. It almost NEVER works that way. 4 dig year is hard enough, and it's so much harder when you don't have a personal reason to stay here and stick through it. At the very least, they would be miserable- if not Form 34 and see the chapel in the rearview.
    That's all I have to say.
     
  18. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    I'm sure you can understand how emotions can run high when we talk about cutting some, not all, sports teams. We have kids on those teams who have spent a large part of their lives working hard for the privilege of competing at this level. Of course, we understand that the higher calling of USAFA's mission (to prepare officers for a career as Air Force leaders) is paramount. But please don't tell us our priorities are messed up. We are disappointed that our kids may not be able to complete something they started and do what they love to do. It's that simple. No amount of budget math and good sense and higher mission yadayada is going to change that profound empathy we have for our kids. We know if it happens, they'll be really bummed and we will feel their disappointment along with them. That's what parents do. And then we'll help them move on. Because that too is what we do. MombaBomba is just trying to understand what the best options are for her son in an uncertain world. Of course, in the end her son will do what is best for him, as all our kids did. But that doesn't mean we don't agonize and fret and emote about it...we're parents, after all.
     
  19. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    I can see both sides really easily here. Does it suck that some sports might be cut? Yeah, I think cutting any program here gets rid of some of the diversity that the academy needs. I know I would be completely devastated if my club team was cut, and I certainly spend less time with my team than an IC athlete does. However, are IC sports more important than academic programs or military programs? I would argue no.

    I participated in a sport in high school that is not offered at USAFA-I had a handful of opportunities to continue in college or even get scholarship money, but at the end of the day, I chose USAFA because the funding and opportunities for military, airmanship, and leadership training far surpass that of my other options. Trust me, I feel for you and your son. But this is one of those situations where you need to pick your priorities very carefully.

    Sports are great, but they're not the only important thing... for example, I happen to know melindadayching's daughter, and her athletic ability and accomplishments aren't what make her a great cadet-it's her empathy and willingness to look out for her subordinates. I know that there are many cadets like her who will be great officers regardless of their athletic involvement, but of course it would hurt to give up their sports.
     
  20. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    Haley, just because YOU made the decision ALONE without your parents helping with that decision doesn't make it true for the rest of your 1,190 year mates. some did it with THEIR parents TOGETHER and WANTED them to be part of that decision and were not coerced as you seem to imply. please don't make it sound like everybody else did it like you did or has to do it like you did. just because your parents didnt jump up and down or cry or ask you if you got a letter etc worked for you doesnt mean that it is for everyone else. some kids DO like their parents working with them, asking them about their day and getting advice on things that an 18 year old may not know about.

    i always remember someone saying "you will never know how it is until you have your own kids..."

    the OP is just trying to say that he is frustrated that this is happening but his child still wants to go to AFA whether he plays or not. i dont know how much sports you did in school but some of these kids spent every free time, every weekend and every summer day practicing, playing and competing for the sport that they love. a lot of them have risen to elite and national even international levels. it is not THAT EASY to walk away from all that.
     

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