Jeff Pearlman

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The University of Delaware is dead to me

I attended the University of Delaware.

Today, I hate the University of Delaware.

Actually, “hate” is too weak. I loathe the University of Delaware. I detest the University of Delaware. I hope the Blue Hens lose every football and basketball game for the next 1,000 years. Read this column from the Wilmington News Journal‘s excellent Kevin Tresolini—you’ll understand why.

Yesterday marked the final event for the men’s track team, which the University of Delaware administration recently killed (along with men’s cross country) after 100 years of competition. Bernard Muir, the recently added athletic director from Georgetown, cited Title IX as the reason. The school’s president, Patrick Harker, has stated the same thing—sort of ignoring/skipping over the point that the NCAA hasn’t touched UD for any Title IX infractions. Hasn’t come near UD for any Title IX infractions. Hasn’t even mentioned any UD Title IX infractions.

So why is this happening?

I don’t know. Genuinely, I don’t know. Don’t understand. Don’t get it. Certainly, it must involve money. And, were I to guess, I’d say it has something to do with the increasingly loud rumors that, within a decade, the administration wants football to jump from I-AA to I-A. But, again, I don’t know.

What I do know—and what makes me want to vomit—is that Delaware is dismissing Jim Fischer, the school’s running coach since 1982-83. Coach Fischer is one of the most decent, honorable, caring human beings I have ever met. He is a saint. Beyond a saint. Yesterday, however, it became public news that, come February, he’s done. Gone. Adios. Thanks for everything—now leave.

During times like these, I always wonder whether the people who need to speak out are speaking out. Where’s the voice of K.C. Keeler, the football coach? How about Monte Ross from men’s hoops? Bob Shillinglaw has headed men’s lax for forever and a day. I want to hear these people stand up for a coach who needs to be stood up for. I want someone here to do the right thing—to scream and moan about the bullshit at hand; about the indecency of a university charged with instilling decency.

That, of course, won’t happen. What will happen, however, is this: the University of Delaware will never receive another check from me. Ever. Not a penny, not a dime, not $100. Nothing.

When I was at Delaware, Coach Fischer treated me—a crap, bottom-of-the-barrel runner—like family.

In turn, I will do the same.

  • Arnold

    Has there been any campaign to save the Delaware track & field program? I am an alumni of Cal and there was a huge uproar when they announced that they were dumping baseball and some other sports (for monetary reasons). A subsequent fund-raising campaign has garnered enough money to save most or all of the sports that were to be eliminated, including baseball. I am certain that money is at the root of the Delaware decision (women’s sports rarely are self-supporting and if they eliminate some of them, they have to eliminate some men’s sports as well). Has anyone sought to do some fund-raising for Delaware sports programs?

  • Jim K.

    Not sure about this, but Title IX means you have to distribute funds evenly between men’s and women’s programs. Which means even if a men’s program has plenty of participants and interest, it can get slashed to make room for a women’s program that has only a fraction of the participants and interest. If I’m right, Title IX is bullsh*t.

  • Evan

    Jim

    I believe your understanding, “If I’m right, Title IX is bullsh*t,” is correct on both counts.

  • DaninDc

    It’s all Title ix- Jeff, sometimes your blind liberalism will come back to bite you in the ass.

    How about all the wrestling programs that keep getting cut for field hockey?

    How about Howard University’s freaking baseball team getting cut for a woman’s bowling team?
    That happened.

  • Dean Hornet

    Yes, we are trying our best to save the teams. http://www.SaveUD.com has information about a radio show:

    On Monday April 18th at 2:00 PM, Rick Jensen of WDEL will be devoting an hour on his show about the demise of UD Track and X-C. This is a call in talk show, and will be a great opportunity for all of us to voice our displeasure at what has been done to our beloved program, and to Coach Fischer.

    The program is on 1150 AM, or on the internet at http://www.wdel.com. Please listen in on Monday the 18th at 2:00 PM, and make a point to call in with your opinion at 302-478-9335. The show will be recorded as a podcast – let the UD administration know how you feel about the demise of UD T&F/XC!!

    Please pass the word along to everyone you know, and if using Twitter, please use the hashtag #UDTRACK

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life