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Updated: Franklin weighs in

 

(Note: updated with clarification that men’s track/cross country’s 12.6 allotted scholarships encompass three sports: indoor track, outdoor track and cross country).

Unlike Jeremy Fishbein, his men’s soccer counterpart, Joe Franklin says he has not been told any of his programs (men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country) are in jeopardy of being dropped as UNM athletics looks to drastically cut costs.

“Nor have I asked,” he said.

But, he said, “I think it’s naive to think that any sport is not being considered. … That’s how I feel about it.”

Tuesday, the UNM Board of Regents approved an athletic budget calling for “a reduction in sports.” UNM is supporting a total of 22 varsity sports, more than any Mountain West Conference school except Air Force, which is federally funded.

Like Fishbein’s soccer program, Franklin’s teams have been among UNM’s most successful since he arrived from Butler University in 2007.

Franklin’s women’s cross country teams won NCAA championships in 2015 and 2017. His men’s and women’s track and cross country teams have won a total of 22 league championships. His athletes have won eight NCAA individual titles.

Almost certainly, Title IX concerns would protect his women’s programs. His teams don’t travel as extensively as Fishbein’s soccer program.

Men’s track-cross country does account for 12.6 scholarships, 3.7 more than men’s soccer. But Franklin said on Wednesday that those 12.6 scholarships are spread over not two but three programs: Indoor track, outdoor track and cross country,

(These both, soccer and track/cross country, are “equivalency” NCAA sports, in which scholarships are divided among the athletes. Football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and women’s tennis are “headcount” sports, in which each athlete is awarded a full scholarship.)

“Our amazing athletic department,” Franklin said in a text, “could look very different in two years.”

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