Program produced seven Olympians
BY MIKE VORKUNOV
Seton Hall University announced that it has made a decision to eliminate four teams from its athletic department — men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track-and add women’s golf in order to comply with Title IX and keep 14 teams as part of what it is calling a strategic restructuring of its intercollegiate sports programs. The changes will be effective July 1.
“This is a very difficult, indeed a painful email for me to write,” said Monsignor Robert Sheeran of the one announcing the cuts. “Because I announced that the university is restructuring strategically our sports programs. Part of this is to ensure a success in an increasingly complex and expensive Big East. I also think you need to account for Seton Hall’s financial situation today, like other institutions of higher education, where fiscal realities are hemming in on us.”
The decision will affect 24 scholarship athletes, all of whom will be guaranteed their scholarship for the duration of the collegiate education. But if any athlete requests to leave the University to run elsewhere they will be granted an unconditional blanket release from their scholarship.
As well, five coaches were affected. John Moon, the head coach of both programs and in his 38th year at the position, was already contacted about staying with the University in some capacity.
The change will save Seton Hall roughly $1.5 million. Athletic Director Joe Quinlan said that the addition of women’s golf will cost between $190-200,000 per year. Despite the cuts, the athletic department will still be running a deficit and said they will look for other ways to get rid of the deficit.
Quinlan met with members of each squad Wednesday to tell them the news, shortly before coming on to a conference call to explain the decision. When asked by the athletes about the rationale in the choice made by the University, Quinlan said it was made with only aspect in mind.
“They just wanted to know why it was track and really it’s a financial decision,” said Quinlan. “Monsignor spoke very comprehensively about that. This really is a business decision as much as you don’t want to frame it that way when there are students involved.”
The entire process took roughly 90 days to make according to Quinlan. Monsignor Sheeran quoted a verse from the Bible to explain the decision, saying that for branch must be pruned to bear more fruit. This was the case at Seton Hall.
“This has been made because we want to be stronger as we move ahead,” he said.
Ironically Moon and two members of the men’s track team were honored Tuesday night during the men’s basketball game at the Prudential Center.
“I was certainly aware of that,” said Sheeran. “This is one of those really painful decisions because it’s a storied tradition. In the 50′s some of the great runners in the country were Seton Hall runners.”
Under Moon alone Seton Hall produced seven Olympians, seven NCAA Champions and 71 All-Americans. Moon served as the first assistant coach for the 2000 Olympic Men’s Track team.
“You can clip and clip along the side but sometimes you need to make difficult decisions for the University,” said Sheeran.