Georgetown University’s track teams are preparing to start their seasons, but they need a track.
The Georgetown men’s and women’s track teams currently practice off campus in a public space. Since this space is shared, the teams have to practice while it is also being used by members of the public.
Georgetown owes all its teams a safe and private space to train in. The university should invest in its track and field programs by obtaining access to a private space for the teams to use.
The lack of private facilities is not only inconvenient for Georgetown’s track and field teams, but also actively detracts from the quality of their training and development, according to runner Price Owens (NHS ’22).
“Not having a university owned track requires us to share a track with dogs and random people walking, which in the past has caused injuries and complications for the team and others,” Owens wrote in a message to The Hoya.
Student athletes choose to spend four years at Georgetown. The university should at least provide them sufficient practice spaces in return. Athletes getting injured due to the lack of a private training space is unacceptable, and coaches and athletes should be able to maximize the value of practice time rather than having to navigate around unpredictable obstacles in a public space.
The Georgetown men’s and women’s track and field teams consistently succeed in intercollegiate competition, but they could do even better if they had an adequate training space. An unobstructed track would enable the teams to practice more efficiently, and investments in these programs could help attract better athletes to Georgetown in future seasons, building on the track teams’ successes.
Though Georgetown invests most heavily in its men’s basketball team since it brings in the most revenue, the athletic department must also commit to ensuring that other teams have safe and adequate facilities. Spending across teams does not have to be equal, but all teams deserve at least one usable training space.
The university has allocated resources to athletic facilities projects in the past. In February 2019, Georgetown allocated a portion of its $75 million deferred maintenance plan to completing Cooper Field renovations, which were initiated by a $50 million donation in October 2015. The field is used by the football, field hockey, and men’s and women’s lacrosse programs.
While fundraising could be an extremely effective method to raise revenue for a track, the university is not actively promoting the need for track and field facilities. The university’s athletic fundraising priorities include projects to benefit baseball, women’s basketball, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, and volleyball teams — track and field programs are not even listed among the programs that need better facilities. Even if Georgetown does not currently have funds to allocate to a track facility, it should at least give potential donors the option to fund this endeavor.
The establishment of a private track and field training facility should be among Georgetown’s top fundraising goals. Failing to list this need among its fundraising goals is negligent on the university’s part given the lack of safety and quality in the teams’ current training situations.
If building a new track on campus is not possible due to the lack of open space around Georgetown, the university should obtain access to a private space nearby that can be used exclusively by the track teams while training. While not ideal, precedent exists for Georgetown teams to travel to off-campus facilities — such as the baseball team’s Shirley Povich Field in Rockville, Md. It is worth finding any possible solution to obtain a private space for track and field.
On its fundraising page of its athletics website, the university claims to recognize the importance of athletics to a well-rounded campus, but it should act on this sentiment by investing in all its teams. The track teams are ready for the 2020 season, but they need a track to practice on.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and chaired by the opinion editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.