$5M Pledge Helps Save 2 Temple University Sports Teams - FOX 13 News

$5M Pledge Helps Save 2 Temple University Sports Teams

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PHILADELPHIA -

There was a bittersweet bombshell from Temple University on Monday afternoon.

Students reacted with mixture of joy and sadness on campus after learning rowing programs have been saved but five other varsity sports programs are getting the ax.

FOX 29's Chris O'Connell was live Monday night on Temple's main campus in North Philadelphia, where the news was still sinking in for students.

Inside the board of trustees meeting, the emotional roller coaster that is the Temple sports program came to an end, and it ended some careers.

"My teammates and I have a decision to make, whether we transfer to other universities to pursue our gymnastics careers or stay here," said Colton Howard, of men's gymnastics.

The board voted to restore the men's and women's rowing program, two of the seven sports previously eliminated.

Rowing was helped in part by $5-million private-public donation to help build Temple's boathouse along the Schuylkill River. The city, along with the Lenfest Foundation, will pay to provide renovated public restrooms, offices and storage space for police and new lockers and boat storage for the Temple crew teams at the Kelly Drive facility.

Once design plans are finalized, constructions is expected to last up to a year and a half.

Crew members had mixed reactions.

"It's a happy day for rowing, but it's still a sad day for Temple," said Kelesa Franks, of the women's rowing team.

Five other sports were not so lucky. The university decided to go ahead with its plan to eliminate baseball, softball, men's gymnastics, indoor and spring track.

Temple's gymnastics coach of 38 years gathers his teams to console them. This year is their last.

"Losing a varsity program in the NCAA situation is very bad for everybody," gymnastics coach Fred Turoff said.

Temple says the move to eliminate sports were strictly financial, saving the university millions.

"We could have 24 programs. We could have fields, fields of dreams," said Patrick O'Connor, of the Board of Trustees. "But the point is it costs a great deal of money, and since we have limited assets we have to decide how to allocate resources."

The university promised to uphold the scholarships of athletes that were granted. The five sports will officially discontinue on July 30, O'Connell reported.

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