By NATHANIEL HOLBROOK
A significant budget cut for sports teams occurred before the 2018-2019 school year and has had lasting effects for some teams.
In the 2017-2018 school year, UMW funded sports teams with $829,301 while in the 2018-2019 school year, sports teams received $534,728 in school funding according to the UMW operating budgets.
The nearly 40 percent decline caused anxiety and difficulty for sports teams to cover the difference and make do. The impact of this budget cut depended on the team.
The reduced funding has not impacted the men’s varsity soccer team greatly other than their gear funds, according to freshman Emilio Pope. “The team hasn’t been able to get as much gear they like, and practice gear and specifically weather gear.” The budget cuts haven’t impacted their practice times greatly, but better gear would possibly allow the team to perform better.
Despite their lack of funding, the newly declared budget hasn’t greatly affected the men’s rugby team. According to junior rugby player Jose Reyes, they’re used to the lack of financial support from the school. “I think since rugby doesn’t get much funding in the first place, we’ve adjusted to fundraising and other methods like sponsors.”
The cross country team has been impacted by budget cuts.
“The cross country team has seen a couple of different things happen due to the budget cuts. The first is that we were unable to bring as many people to our furthest non-championship race. In the past, top ten went on both the men’s and women’s teams, this year only the top nine went,” said Brandon Baumgartner, a sophomore on the men’s cross country team. “In addition, this same situation is occurring with the NCAA southeast regional meet. Although we can only race seven at that meet, it is not uncommon for alternates to be used, so only bringing nine could potentially hurt us if people are not able to race with last-minute circumstances.”
The budget cuts the team’s travel. Baumgartner said, “the team has to drive to Memphis, Tennessee for the regional meet. This is a very long car ride and will cause those competing to miss class. If there was more funding, they would be able to fly there, and miss less class.”
The budget cuts have also impacted the equestrian team and the farm they practice at– reducing the number of horses they have, ceasing classes offered through UMW, and increasing the money gap between competing schools.
According to Erika South, a junior on the equestrian team, “The budget cuts have made things pretty hard. We compete against really well-funded teams for the most part, who tend to have the opportunity to get more ride time than we do as a part of the team, not just paying for extra lessons– which is something we can do, but not everyone has the funds to do that in addition to paying for college.” Despite the reduced financial support from the school, but the team still remains optimistic with what they have.