A Modest Proposal to Keep Men’s Track and Field at Bemidji State

We’ve been following the potential elimination of men’s track and field at Bemidji State for a couple of weeks now, and Mike Hougen, a track coach at a high school in Iowa, has come up with an idea to save the team. The following is excerpted from a letter to the editor that appeared in today’s edition of the Bemidji Pioneer:

My proposal is to increase funding to women’s sports by giving each women’s team five room vouchers, and increase the number of vouchers for the women’s teams that already receive them. Right now, how many dorm rooms are empty, but are still being heated? There would be no loss in giving these rooms away to the women’s sports teams. How many more girls would come if we could give them a scholarship in the form of a room voucher worth around $3,600? Residence life should consider this an investment, since athletes seem to be the quickest group of students to move off campus, bringing their friends who are not in sports with them.

[…]

All this proposal requires is cooperation between Residential Life, athletics and the administration, and everybody wins. Women get more funding, Residential Life could possibly get more people to live in the dorms and buy meal plans, the university gets to keep a program that has recently produced multiple All-Americans, a national champion, Olympic trials representative, and over $270,000 in tuition to the university.

It’s an interesting thought — offer more scholarships in the form of room vouchers in order to attract more female athletes and move closer to proportionality. I wonder how the university will respond.

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