I chose the University of Minnesota after considering several Division 1 track programs throughout the Midwest. I would not have chosen to attend Minnesota without a men’s team equivalent. I chose to be a Golden Gopher because, more than any other institution I visited, the U of M felt like it was a family. Despite being separate programs at that time, my experience was greatly impacted by the presence of the men’s team. Their victories felt like our victories. Our victories were celebrated wholeheartedly by the men’s team. Taking away the men’s program will be ripping up the family.

The short-term benefit of this decision, which is limited to a small portion of budgetary savings, is insignificant in light of the devastating long-term detriments. The State of Minnesota will lose its only Division 1 male programs in cross country and track and field, driving home-bred talent to other states. The University will alienate its donor base by eliminating opportunities for male athletes. The University’s women’s cross country and track programs will lose athletes who are not interested in schools who clearly do not value the sport enough to have male athletes. Finally, all women’s programs at the University will suffer given Title IX implications of this decision. Rather than helping female athletes, this decision swings the ratio to the detriment of men, to avoid creating any new opportunities for women athletes. This is a poor decision. I will advocate for my Golden Gopher family.