There's a long list of reasons 2020 has sucked, but in the running world, the continued decimation of collegiate track & field programs has to rank near the top.
William & Mary and Minnesota were the latest schools to announce they're cutting men's track & field (effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year). And while it hurts to see any program cut, it really stings when those programs have storied histories behind them.
Between them, William & Mary and Minnesota have sent 49 teams to the NCAA XC champs (the men's XC teams were not cut, but good luck attracting distance talent without a track team). 1996 Olympian Brian Hyde and pros Matt Lane and Jon Grey are just a few of the stars who ran for W&M. Minnesota, meanwhile, produced an NCAA champion as recently as 2018 (Obsa Ali in the steeple). In the most recent Olympics, two Golden Gophers made distance finals for the US (Ben Blankenship was 8th in the 1500, Hassan Mead 11th in the 5000). This hurts.
If you're reading this, chances are you ran in college or know someone who did. And chances are, that experience had a profound effect on you. Maybe it opened your eyes to your true potential. Maybe it taught you the skills necessary to succeed post-collegiately -- how to manage time efficiently and power through when things weren't going well. Or maybe, through shared commitment and sacrifice, you forged a bond with your teammates that endures to this day.
Sadly, our sport has just lost opportunities for the next generation of athletes to experience those same things. We wish this is the last time we have to write those words in 2020. But the reality is, the cuts may not be over yet; if schools like William & Mary and Minnesota are cutting programs, no one is safe.