James E. Lyons Sr., the interim president of the University of the District of Columbia has proposed abandoning all intercollegiate sports at the historically Black educational institution in the nation’s capital. The university competes in the NCAA’s Division II and fields teams in four men’s and six women’s sports. In 1982, the men’s basketball team won the Division II national championship. The cuts in intercollegiate sports would save an estimated $4.4 million.
In addition to cuts in intercollegiate athletics, Dr. Lyons wants to end major degree programs in disciplines with few students. Some possible cuts that have been rumored are physics, sociology, and environmental science.
Dr. Lyons was hired for a year and has gone on record that he is not interested in the job on a permanent basis. Before joining the university as interim president in March, he served as president of Bowie State University in Maryland, Jackson State University in Mississippi, and California State University, Dominguez Hills. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Lyons served as secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Dr. Lyons holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a master’s degree in student personnel, and a doctorate in higher educational administration, all from the University of Connecticut.
Update: The university board of trustees met on November 19 and voted 7 to 5 to continue the university’s involvement in intercollegiate athletics. But the board did approve the elimination of 17 academic degree programs with low numbers of enrollments. Among the degree programs facing elimination are sociology, history, economics, and physics.