Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rowing Programs Get the Axe

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The University of Cincinnati Department of Athletics is realigning its sports offerings to more effectively address the evolving shifts in the popularity of women's sports.

With a growth rate at the high school level of 290 percent over the last decade, the number of female athletes participating in girl's lacrosse has skyrocketed to almost 52,000 according to a recent survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations. What this translates to is a much greater need for opportunities at the college level which UC Athletics will address by adding women's lacrosse as a varsity sport.

Concurrently, the University of Cincinnati has elected to discontinue its women's rowing program at the conclusion of its traditional season in the spring of 2007.

These moves are part of a long-range planning process initiated to optimize the department's objectives of producing championship caliber programs and ensuring that the department is being managed as efficiently as possible and in accordance with the standards and best practices as set forth by the NCAA. The CATAPULT plan focuses on three main initiatives: winning BIG EAST team championships, high-level academic achievement, and a comprehensive integration with the Greater Cincinnati Community.

This is the third (or fifth, depending on how you count it) collegiate rowing program that I have heard was being cut by their athletic department in the past year. Personally, I find this amazing. Junior rowing is a niche sport, certainly, yet there is no end to the number of recruitable boys and girls pulling on oars in high schools across the country. Add the University of Cincinnati to a list that includes the University of New Hampshire and Rutgers University, two schools who have elected to drop rowing, along with other sports, in order to fund a higher-profile sport (in UNH and Rutgers' case, football, from what I understand). Rutgers, prior to the end of this year, has sponsored men's heavyweight, lightweight, and women's openweight rowing, and the loss of these programs is a blow to the depth of rowing on the East Coast.

Certainly, crew is an expensive sport. When the essential tools to field a team run upwards of $30,000, you know you're going to have to allocate a good chunk of the athletic budget to pay for scholarships, coaches, facilities, etc. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing; with Division I-A football coaches earning an average of $950,000, adding a women's rowing program to your department is a way to achieve gender balance as required by law in Title IX. But for the University of Cincinnati and the University of New Hampshire, rowing was already a women's sport - men's teams were club sports. One has to wonder about the wisdom of these cuts, especially at UC, where the women's rowing team had leveled charges against the Athletic Department that the quality of departmental assistance they were receiving did not necessarily help make the school Title IX-compliant.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I can't take not practicing anymore. I'm going back to it tomorrow morning, backache or no backache.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Last Friday, our coach adjusted the rigging in our four, making the load heavier. Being a smaller guy rowing with three other stereotypical heavyweight men (6'0" or taller, 200+ lbs), this was a viable option to see if it would increase boat speed. However, the resulting change did something to my lower back, and I haven't been able to row since last weekend. On the eve of my first week without touching an erg or an oar, I figured I'd chart my degression into madness day-by-day.

Day 1-2
Saturday and Sunday were off days. Woo.

Day 3
First day I got to sleep in since the week before I moved back on campus. It was nice, waking up after the sun had already risen. However, I didn't get up in time to take a shower and therefore had to go to class stinky and with a wicked cowlick. This will become a trend as the week goes on.

Day 4
I don't know what this feeling is. I...miss? Rowing? Had an early class so I had to get up early anyways, and I didn't fall asleep until after midnight the night before. I haven't really spent any time with my teammates since the weekend, which is a long time. Keep slogging, you'll be okay...

Day 5
This is the most times I've been up past midnight in one week since the end of the 2006 spring season. I'm getting irritable and jittery, and I blame this on a lack of erging. I usually don't have enough energy to be anything but tired when we've got hard afternoon workouts, but I can't push myself like that on a stationary bike. On the plus side, I've gotten an extraordinary amount of classwork done.

Day 6
Rest of the team had a 6K today. I went down to the erg room and watched some of them pull it, helped cox a few of them who wanted someone talking to them. Wanted to hop on an erg and pull one with the rest of the team, regardless of fitness and back pains. Instead did a 40 minute steady state on the stationary bike in the public gym. People like to stare at guys in spandex.

To be continued...