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Furman Decision A Sign Of The Times

To say the news came as a shock is underselling the matter by a wide margin. When administrators at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., announced Feb. 7 that the school will discontinue men’s golf after the spring of 2014, fans had to check the calendar to make sure this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. Unfortunately, the university was all too serious. “It is always difficult to limit opportunities, especially for young men who want to compete in a sport about which they are passionate,” Furman interim president Carl Kohrt said in announcing the dissolution of the 82-year-old program. “But just like every enterprise we have to constantly evaluate where to strategically allocate our resources.” Alumni reactions ranged from bewilderment to apoplexy. “I’m from Arizona and I can tell you that there are large parts of the country where Furman is only known because of its golf,” said T.J. Blandford, a Furman golfer from 2002-06. Like most graduates, Blandford was caught off guard, so much so that he started an online petition in the hopes administrators might reconsider. Within 48 hours, the petition had more signatures than Furman has undergraduate students. “It doesn’t make a lot of strategic sense, even if there are budget problems, to jeopardize your reputation and what you’re known for,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping to communicate. Furman, for a lot of people, is its golf program. And we believe this decision does more long-term harm than good.”


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