The elimination of four sports programs at Eastern Michigan University was a controversial topic during the university's Board of Regents meeting Friday afternoon. Over 150 people attended and overflow rooms were used.
The board told a packed room at Welch Hall that it was a difficult decision to eliminate teams like softball and wrestling but it had to be done to address budget issues. Those who oppose the cuts, like EMU alumnus Kevin Doake, were upset that they weren't allowed to speak during public comment because all slots had been taken. Doake says they put in a request when the eliminations were announced last month.
"We made our request immediately and we're not convinced this was a democratic or first come first served opportunity for public comment," said Doake.
University officials say that public comment spots were still available after the cuts were announced.
EMU President James Smith says that it's unlikely that the teams will be brought back unless someone donates between $15 million and $17 million to the university.
"You would have to bring them all back. That would be our requirement for Title IX. So how complicated would it be to say, hey, we hit a number and can bring them all back? I would assume it would be pretty difficult to do for fall but maybe not impossible," said Smith.
While the sports programs were cut, Eastern will still acknowledge scholarships it offered student athletes affected by the change.
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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org