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UMBC to Discontinue Intercollegiate Field Hockey Program
“Our current budget deficit has caused us to make financial decisions that include adjustments in staffing, scholarships, operations and, unfortunately, the elimination of the field hockey program,” Dr. Brown said.
Moreover, the America East Conference and its member institutions have selected six sports (men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s soccer) where there was a great need to continue to improve in an effort to aid in the development of the conference as a whole. Each school has carefully contemplated how best to add resources to these programs to become more competitive and to put forward an improved product on the court and on the field. The efforts should enable those sports to flourish on a national stage and will help America East in its goals.
14 student-athletes were slated to return next season, and any student-athletes who choose to remain at UMBC will have their scholarships honored through their graduation.
The elimination of field hockey will decrease UMBC’s offerings to 19 varsity programs, 10 for women and nine for men. In FY 2007, UMBC’s 186 female student-athletes had 83.16 scholarship equivalencies, while the 201 male student-athletes had 66.94 scholarships. Men account for 53.7 percent of undergraduate students at the university.
The Retriever field hockey program had struggled since it was restarted in 2001. In four years of America East Conference play, the team had not won a league contest and was ranked 77th out of 79 programs in the NCAA’s 2006 team RPI (ratings percentage index).
UMBC had a varsity field hockey program from 1977-1987. The program was discontinued at that time as the women’s soccer program was added.
“To be competitive in the America East Conference, the program would have needed significant additional funding,” Dr. Brown said. “Under the current and projected financial situation, I don’t believe we could go in this direction.
“Although we struggled on the field, the field hockey team brought a tremendous spirit to our program. We certainly appreciate their efforts, especially where they excelled in the classroom and as student leaders.”
Since 2000, the Retrievers have had 35 players named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad.