Officials at the Naval Academy said yesterday that none of the institution's 33 intercollegiate sports will be cut, despite reports that led a Senate panel to hold back a portion of the institution's annual budget.
According to The Washington Post, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to withhold $5 million of the Naval Academy's $115 budget after hearing that certain lesser sports would be eliminated at the conclusion of an academy review of the sports program. The sports reportedly on the block would be men's and women's fencing, men's and women's volleyball and women's track and field, and the panel has indicated it will withhold the money until it is assured the sports will not be cut.
Rear Adm. Virgil L. Hill Jr., the Naval Academy superintendent, said yesterday through an academy spokesman that all sports will remain intact.
"I spoke to the superintendent [yesterday], and he said there are no intentions of cutting any sports whatsoever at the Naval Academy," said Lt. Cmdr. Mike John, the spokesman.
Naval Academy officials say the sports department is being reviewed by an outside consultant. With 33 sports for men and women, Navy's sports program is larger than any of the other service academies.
"It's been done before," John said. "It's a continual evaluation process to look at each sport and how to continue to support the different sports. We've been able to maintain our program, and, unless something drastic happens, we will continue to do so."
John said that, though several members of Congress -- including Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. -- are on the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, no one inquired about the reported cuts that led to action by the Senate committee.
The spokesman added that, with the exception of informing the committee, the academy would not take any further action on the matter now.
The Senate panel took its action last week as it was voting on the budget for the Pentagon.