Clayton Murphy an Akron graduate

When I was in graduate school at Miami University I started the women’s cross country team as a club sport through the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. After the first year with the team finishing fourth in the All Ohio Cross Country meet I met with the Athletic Director. 

His comment to me was there wasn’t any interest in women’s cross country until you got here.  I said I didn’t know if that was true or not.  But, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has had a State Championships for girls for three years, Miami is the only Mid American Conference university without a athletic sponsored women’s cross country team and in fact Miami is the only Division I university which had a women’s track & field team but not a cross country team…This didn’t persuade him to sponsor women’s cross country for four years.

Now many years later University of Akron dropped their men’s cross country team and are probably the only Division I university with a men’s track & field team and not cross country.  Ball State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan do don’t offer men’s cross country or track & field.

Cross Country is one of the cheapest sports to sponsor.  As there are no extra scholarships for cross country.  It is the only sport where if an athlete gets scholarship money it comes from sport,   the track & field team.  Almost always the cross country coaches are also track & field coaches as was the case when Ohio University dropped Men’s Track & Field years ago.  Also, the travel budget has to be one of the lowest of all sports.

According to the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) boys high school cross country has the fourth most number of high schools offer the sport and has the sixth most participants.

Not one MAC school makes money in football – But they cut cross country which travel budget is probably just a few thousand dollars.  When Ohio University dropped their men’s track & field team they still keep the 5 scholarships which were used for CC and they had the same coaches for T&F and CC. - but they all hope to make it big time. 

All MAC schools get money from the general funds/students fees for football.  I did a lot of research when Ohio University dropped their men’s track & field program years ago.  Most MAC school loses a million dollars or more a year in football.  Only about 25 or so Division I schools make money in football.

I did a few internet searches – one stated Akron Lost $4.2 million dollars in football in 2012..I am sure today figures would be about the same..

More - $169 million in subsidies for college sports from student fees, and other university funds -Receiving the largest university or student subsidy last year (2018) were the athletic departments at Cincinnati ($24,892,123), Akron ($23,813,277) and Miami ($23,771,560).