U decisionmakers called ‘tone-deaf’ for thinking outdoor track doesn’t need indoor season

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Nearly 20 former and current Gophers athletes sat for hours Friday at the McNamara Alumni Center, waiting to hear the final decision on sports cuts from the Board of Regents.

Among the athletes were a handful representing track and field, who learned early in the meeting that men’s outdoor track would be saved as part of an amended resolution. But eventually, the regents voted 7-5 to eliminate men’s indoor track after this school year, along with men’s gymnastics and men’s tennis.

Based on the immediate buzz, it seemed far from a victory for Gophers men’s track.

“Obviously, it’s pretty shocking and pretty new for us just as an idea,” senior distance runner Jordan MacIntosh said. “Because what is track without indoor? That’s half our sport. Thinking that you can recruit just as well with an outdoor program and no indoor program is pretty naive.”

Athletic director Mark Coyle, who first announced the proposed sports cuts Sept. 10, said Friday’s new resolution sprouted from “ongoing conversations” with the regents.

While at least one regent called it a compromise, MacIntosh reiterated what many of his men’s track teammates told him, that the U decisionmakers “really don’t understand the sport.”

“That shows with their new proposal,” he said.

Among Big Ten men’s programs, the Gophers will join two other schools that don’t offer the standard trio of cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. Maryland has outdoor track only, and Northwestern has none of the three on the men’s side.

There are an estimated 20 Division I schools in the country that have men’s cross-country and only have men’s outdoor track. In the Pac-12, Oregon State and Utah don’t have men’s track and field, while Southern California has only indoor track on the men’s side.

“These have been difficult, difficult decisions,” Coyle said on