The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) may get involved if Missouri State University’s board of governors adopts a plan to eliminate five athletics programs, the head of the group’s Springfield chapter says.
The board is scheduled to decide Dec.16 on President Michael Nietzel’s proposal to cut up to five of Missouri State’s 21 intercollegiate sports. Nietzel’s plan would cut men’s indoor track, men’s outdoor track, men’s cross country and men’s and women’s tennis.
The Rev. Larry Maddox, president of the Springfield chapter of the Baltimore, Md.-based NAACP, said last week that he will contact regional and state leaders of the civil rights organization if the board approves the plan. He did not say what action the NAACP might take.
Those opposing the changes contend that nearly half the athletes affected by the cuts are minorities, but Nietzel said that figure includes international students who are not American-born minorities and who are counted in the reporting process of a university’s racial makeup.
In early December, a committee formed by Nietzel recommended the five sports be cut, leaving 39 athletes without programs to participate in next year. Students would be allowed to keep their scholarships after the programs are cut.
The committee said the cuts eventually would save the university about $350,000 a year.
At a rally last week at Missouri State, Maddox criticized Nietzel.
“It’s difficult to convince a community you want to increase diversity and then cut minorities. I want to bring it to the board’s attention,” Maddox said.
Paul Kincaid, the university’s chief of staff, said it was wrong to link sports and diversity.
“Diversity is Dr. Nietzel’s top priority,” Kincaid said.
— Associated Press
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