In an unexpected move, the University of Virginia has decided to discontinue its football and basketball programs. Deciding that performance in sports like lacrosse, rowing, tennis, and cornhole are ultimately where students and alumni place importance, the Athletics Department will shut down the Cavalier "revenue" sports programs, effective immediately.
Citing the successes of the University's Olympic sports teams, mixed results in the past decade from the football and basketball programs, and the fact that most Americans only really care about lacrosse, Athletics Director Craig Littlepaige explained that the plan has strong support from the University's administration as well as its alumni base. "After speaking with a wide variety of Virginia graduates, as well as former student-athletes, it is clear that we should focus our energies on winning sports that Virginians are actually paying attention to," Littlepaige remaked. "While we would love to sponsor basketball and football as well, we cannot in good conscience do so if it is going to detract from our most successful programs."
The idea was initially suggested in late November, when Mike London's squad lost a close game at Virginia Tech, and then approved by the Board of Visitors in a meeting late Wednesday evening after UVA's NIT quarterfinal defeat to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Rector Helen Dragas reported that the vote was unanimous but refused to comment on her reasoning, citing confidentiality concerns; multiple board members responded to our requests for comment with confusion, explaining they had no knowledge that a vote was scheduled.
Current players and coaches have already begun planning their next steps. Former head basketball coach Tony Bennett reportedly has already accepted a position as an assistant coach under Dom Starsia, intrigued by lacrosse's lack of a shot clock (until stall warnings are assessed) and single-digit final scores. Justin Anderson has been offered scholarships by coaches of eight different UVA programs, all of whom expect him to immediately dominate their respective sports. Joe Harris will forgo his amateur status and go pro in the modeling industry.
Insider sources tell us that Mike London has past experience as a cop. While Streaking the Lawn is still attempting to confirm this breaking news, the former head coach is reportedly considering a return to law enforcement.
When asked about his thoughts on the decision, fourth-year Kevin Howard was perplexed. "Since when did we have a football team? Like most Hoos, I haven't missed a chance to support our #1 ranked tennis team or top-10 baseball program, so naturally this move sounds good to me." Third year Christine Jones focused on the bigger picture: "Virginia Tech doesn't invest in its non-football athletics, and it hasn't worked out too well for them. They are 1 of 3 BCS programs that have yet to win a national championship in any sport. Strangely, their fans don't seem to notice that they root for one of the most embarrassing all-around athletics programs."
When contacted for comment, Virginia Tech alumni asked whether we wanted change and thanked us for choosing Domino's.
Not everyone is pleased with the end of the football and basketball programs. Cardiologists in the greater Charlottesville area are cutting staff, worrying about a tougher business climate ahead.
Going forward, the Athletics Department expects that transferring valuable resources toward non-revenue sports will help Virginia compete for championships and improve its standing in the Director's Cup rankings. Young tennis players everywhere have always dreamed about playing on grass at Wimbledon; playing on grass at the now vacant Scott Stadium figures to to provide a similar rush. John Paul Jones Arena's ultimate repurposing has not yet been decided on. Teresa Sullivan expressed a desire to convert the building into a library, though the sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority have reportedly begun collecting the funds to move their house to a more elite location.