Letter to the editor

Dear Mr. Stewart,

Last week at a team meeting, 48 Hilltopper track athletes discovered our program will soon face a 50 percent budget cut. You were not present. Our coaches informed us to protect us from potential rumors. As athletic director, your job is to make important athletic decisions and to own them. Our coaches did your job that night.

You are a smart man, Mr. Stewart, and good at your job. However, cutting the school’s most decorated program by 50 percent isn’t sensible. You know that WKU cannot afford to eradicate track because in order for NCAA universities to maintain Division 1 status, they must house 16 teams. WKU has 16 teams, six of which are embodied in our program. Track is the lifeblood of your athletic department. Without us, your job wouldn’t exist on the D1 stage. We employ you. We provide for you. Why not return the favor?

Technically, track is “non-revenue-generating,” but we still cost less than the main “moneymaking programs.”  WKU’s financial records indicate that the 2013-2014 football and men’s basketball teams produced a net loss of $6,962,117. That year’s track expenditures? $1,439,699.

What we contribute to WKU cannot be fiscally quantified. Strong GPAs. Volunteerism. International outreach. Conference championships. All-Americans. Most importantly for you, zero negative publicity. How will cutting our resources in half help us continue this standard of excellence?

As athletes, we understand sacrifice and are willing to take a 4.5 percent cut. However, 50 percent is unreasonable. Your “fast-break” mentality has worked so far, but such haste can produce turnovers. Don’t let instant gratification cloud your judgment. Consider the future consequences of this decision before you wring us dry. Don’t just string us along. Help us thrive. Your mantra of “Be proactive, don’t settle” is admirable. Please live it out.


Katie Lever