In two unrelated articles on the homepage of the UMKC University News the reader learns about the problem facing the university and a possible solution. This correlation was not intended.
The problem, as dramatically overstated, is this: Gov. Eric Greitens plans to cut $10 million from UMKC’s $240 million operating budget, a move that allegedly–hysterically–“could indicate the beginning of the end for UMKC and other public universities in Missouri.”
The solution is found in a seemingly innocuous article headlined, “Non-Basketball Athletes Call for Support.” Reports the U-News with some accuracy, “UMKC athletes believe their daily sacrifices of their bodies and minds are unnoticed and unappreciated on UMKC’s campus.”
“Some students don’t have a clue about what we do,” said Terrone Garner, a graduate student hurdler on the track team, adding, “[The] basketball team gets more funding, gear, and snacks to fuel their bodies after workouts.” This is particularly disappointing for Garner since the team finished second at the conference meet in Nampa, Idaho.
Senior Cameo Miller, a dance major, wished her “sport” got some attention too. Although UMKC students are granted free admission to most conservatory events, the U-News tells us that “symphonies, dance recitals and operas are often performed to empty seats.” Said Miller, “Conservatory as a whole is in our own little bubble.” She too wishes the conservatory got as much attention as the basketball team.
The irony, alas, is that the students pay almost no attention to UMKC’s Division I basketball team. Playing in the 10,000 seat Municipal Auditorium, the team averages an embarrassingly small 1500 fans a game.
As reported earlier in the Sentinel, this year the sports program will drain roughly $12 million from UMKC’s core budget. The conservatory is reportedly the least profitable academic program on campus. If the university is looking for $10 million to cut that even the participants acknowledge no would notice, they don’t have to look far.
UMKC is a commuter campus. Most of its students are actively working to put themselves through school. Should they really be expected to care if a student on scholarship wins a gold medal in the women’s triple jump at an obscure conference event in the far reaches of Idaho?