By Loydie Burmah |Staff Writer|
The addition of women’s outdoor track and field, beneficial in some respects, is still a loss not only to women’s water polo players and Coach Sarah Reneker, but to CSUSB as a community.
Instead of implementing a new cost efficient program at the disposal of another, why not allow appropriate accommodations for women’s water polo to exist?
“We need female participants in our athletics program and track seemed to be the most viable option,” stated Director of Athletics Kevin Hatcher.
However, it would appear that alternatives aside from ultimately eliminating women’s water polo were not feasible.
“We’ve suggested moving the water polo team to club status so the team can finish out their career in a highly competitive conference called the Collegiate Water Polo Association,” explained Hatcher.
The CWPA is a non-profit athletic conference which consists of varsity and collegiate club programs that compete for either the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or National Collegiate Club Championship (NCCC).
With women’s track and field set to launch in 2014-2015, a three year plan to fully implement the sport has been established, added Hatcher.
Various articles and posts available on the Internet have documented the cut of women’s water polo at CSUSB.
From Press Enterprise Jim Alexander’s column “Coyotes water polo program enters its final days” to Michelle Gardner’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin sports piece “Support for Cal State San Bernardino water polo program still treading water.”
“In terms of the business of college athletics, the raw numbers probably make sense,” said Alexander.
“But that is no consolation for players who have spent the better part of their lives in the pool, and for their parents,” wrote Alexander.
The online petition “Save the women’s water polo team at Cal State San Bernardino” created by Darrel Morris, father of women’s water polo player Madison Morris (goalkeeper, #1), has garnered 3,091 signatures and counting, including mine (no. 3,059).
“Keep the program! You should not be adding programs at the expense of others,” commented signee no. 3,036 William Harvey from Clovis, CA.
Even a water polo meet-up association stationed in Raleigh, NC, Triangle Water Polo Club (TWPC), has asked for support in helping defer the firm in place decision.
“CSUSB water polo has started a petition in hopes the administration will reinstate the program. Please find the link below to sign the petition,” captured in an e-mail posted in the TWPC mailing archive.
The exchange of women’s water polo is supposed to accommodate track and field interests of young women in the Inland Empire area, but I believe there are other solutions that could potentially benefit all.
How about deferring the decision to implement women’s track and field into CSUSB athletics at a later time period and focus energy on creating attainable solutions to save women’s water polo?
If women’s water polo along with the support of parents, students, and even strangers are persistent in saving the program, we as a community should strive to do the same.
Fighting until the very end to save the program, I am humbled by the persistent firmness of those associated with the women’s water polo program.
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