According to Lori Frey, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, this change of programs was brought about by a review of programs - an annual occurrence in the Athletics Department. “Every year we go through a review process ...it’s a comprehensive, kind of intellectual review,” said Frey.
The review process examines a number of different things, including number of athletes, costs associated with sport, and so on. After the last review process, it was given to the Board of Trustees to decide if the winter sport of gymnastics would be dropped. The Board voted "yes" on the measure. “In gymnastics case, unfortunately numbers have been low for the past ten years,” said Frey.
Frey had a meeting with the team and coach to inform them that this would be their last season competing. Currently, the team has three members. While a team requires five gymnasts to compete to be able to count as an official team, the gymnasts will be able to go to meets and compete as individuals.
Some were upset by how little time they had to prepare. “I wish they would have let us have time to fight back,” said Jenny Miller ‘15, a second -year member of the team. A petition has been started online, asking for 1000 signatures to a petition to be sent to the Board of Trustees. As of publication, the petition had 585 signatures.
The Athletic Department also got permission to add the fall sport of cross-country in Fall of 2013. According to Frey, cross-country was her number one pick for a new athletic program for several reasons, including:
- the lack of need for facilities,
- low cost,
- aligning Wilson with other members of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), and
- the potential to recruit.
Frey also talked with a number of other institutions within the conference to help her make her decision.
According to Frey, a head cross-country coach will be hired for Fall 2013, and any students who are interested in the sport may join. Any focus on building a team will come later, especially since cross country is a more individual sport. “If there are current students who want to compete, they can. If not, we won’t,” said Frey.
Cross country was not the only sport considered. Volleyball is another sport that was considered, and multiple students have expressed an interest in the sport before. But Frey said that past history was not promising for a volleyball program. “We have not had success in maintaining a steady volleyball coach,” said Frey, adding that a steady coach is an important factor in any program. A facility for the program was another issue. “It’s very hard to recruit to a gym like ours, and volleyball players need a gym,” said Frey.
Frey said that there’s a chance any program could be brought back. “Tennis has been dropped and added twice, volleyball has been dropped and added twice. There was a ten year period where we didn’t have gymnastics,” said Frey.