UMass to finally fund athletics

By Collegian Sports Staff

In a highly unexpected statement Wednesday, University of Massachusetts Chancellor Robert Holub and Athletic Director John McCutcheon announced the dawn of a new era in UMass athletics.

Before a crowd of reporters, alumni, students and community members, the pair shared their vision for the future of sports at UMass: funded athletics programs.

While it will certainly take a vigorous fundraising drive to make this vision a reality, Holub and McCutcheon appeared confident that they could make it happen.

“We’re not going to reveal all of the specifics just yet, but let me tell you this much: by next fall, our men and women in maroon and black will be out there competing, at varsity status, in official uniforms, with regulation equipment, and may even be able to travel to other schools for competition,” said McCutcheon as Holub nodded approvingly. “Like I said, these plans are all still in the works, but we are going to fund our athletics.”

Holub appeared virtually teary-eyed, a glint in his face beaming as he took the podium.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce this milestone achievement in the history of the University of Massachusetts,” he said. “No longer will we be the only major state university to support the local regional high school’s athletics in lieu of our own programs.”

While no specifics have yet been revealed of how the University will finance the funding hike, rumors buzzed within the administration that the school may start a booster club or that it may seek more state aid.

“I hear we’re going to even charge money for the games, we could, even, turn a profit,” said Joyce Hatch, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “Imagine that,” she quipped, “making money of sports, oh my God, I’m tickled,” she continued, forcing back muffled giggles.

Within the athletic department, reactions to the funding announcement were mixed, with some players ecstatic at finally being able to compete against other colleges, while administrators and coaches complained of an increased workload.

“Oh, great, ‘funding,’” said men’s swimming and diving coach Russ Yarworth, “now we’ll have money for ‘swimsuits’ and ‘chlorine,’ what are they going to give us next, our own pool,” he queried rhetorically, rolling his eyes and tossing a pen from his clipboard onto the ground.

Cher King, a senior on the field hockey squad, was happier with the development than Yarworth.

“I just always knew that with this whole field hockey team idea, maybe one day we could actually field a team and compete in games and maybe even win them, like I was promised when I came here,” she said. “I am just so happy, but now we will have to practice and I will be so tired.”

Others inside the athletic department met the news with lukewarm reactions.

“Well, you know what they say about UMass,” said assistant athletic director Garrett Waller, “don’t like the funding one day, wait till tomorrow.”

“I’m just really happy to finally be tasked with some responsibilities, like scheduling games, coordinating academic and biographical data with the NCAA, maybe even catching a couple of games, this is going to rock,” said Assistant Director Matt Komer. “Frankly I’m not even sure what we’ve been doing here all this time without any funding.”

Other departments saw the announcement as a grim harbinger that maybe they, too, would receive funding.

“Oh dear, they’re going to start paying for the sports programs?” remarked a visibly stirred Penny Remsen, chair of the theater department. “Does this mean we’re going to have to start producing plays, with sets and casts and lighting, and a theater, where are we going to get that. This is horrible, I’ve got to run,” she quipped, before pulling out her chair and fleeing her office.

“Data not processing, system error, concept of University giving department money cannot be rendered through server,” said Andrew Barto, chair of the computer science department, as he painstakingly fumbled with the department’s one 40-foot wall-length computer, a web of tangled cables and wires. “Insufficient file space for concept of school finance, no program available to operate,” continued Barto, “system shutting down,” as he slunk towards the floor.

While it remains unclear exactly how much UMass will fund its athletics programs, Holub and McCutcheon assured weary students and alumni the Minutemen absolutely would not be allowed to win any future games.

Rick Pitino can be reached at [email protected].

Editor’s Note: April Fools.