This year's new budget constraints and roster limits haven't stopped Bowdoin Athletics from keeping a "business as usual" mindset.
Last February, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) made a decision to implement travel regulations limiting the number of players able to travel to athletic competitions requiring overnight stays.
The decision, effective starting August 1, 2009, aimed to keep budgets reasonable in light of the economic crisis. Each athletic team at NESCAC schools was designated a mandated squad size for overnight travel, which varied from sport to sport.
These caps on rosters, implemented across the board for nearly all athletic teams at Bowdoin, have had minimal effect on overall team size. The sailing team, due to the two-day format of the majority of their regattas, did not face overnight roster limitations.
Rumors that recruited athletes and existing players on various teams were cut due to these restrictions, according to Athletic Director Jeff Ward, are untrue.
"We did put in travel limitations, and then people see that there are cuts," he said. "It's natural for people to think that the two might be tied, but the reasons for cuts have been the same as they've been in the past."
Added men's ice hockey Coach Terry Meagher, "The NESCAC mandate has had no bearing on cuts for men's and women's hockey."
According to Ward, the travel restrictions have not had an immediate impact on squad sizes for fall and winter sports this year.
"Maybe [these limitations] were one of the things that came into play for determining overall rosters in a couple of sports, but they certainly were not the only thing," he said. "There was certainly no dramatic shift."
Men's lacrosse coach Tom McCabe does not anticipate the cap having an effect on his team's season. The lacrosse team is now limited to a roster of 32 players for overnight travel.
The lacrosse team is scheduled for only one overnight contest—at Middlebury—this upcoming spring, so McCabe does not anticipate a difference in the size of his overall squad.
Similarly, the men's and women's soccer teams remained unaffected by these limitations.
"The NESCAC travel caps have had no influence on our squad size," said men's soccer coach Fran O'Leary. "We typically carry around 24 players, and in fact, had a larger squad of 26 for the past season."
Women's soccer coach Maren Rojas agreed, although noted that the number caps "could have a determination on how many players you're going to keep."
However, larger sports teams have felt the effects of NESCAC regulations.
"We are still able to carry the same number of athletes on the roster for practices, but we have had to raise the standard for who gets to travel," said men's and women's track and field Head Coach Peter Slovenski.
The implementation of this policy, according to an April 3, 2009 Orient article, will have saved Bowdoin $15,000 in travel costs by the end of the 2009-10 academic year.
Economic constraints have also led teams to reduce budgets in terms of equipment purchases, casual allotments, and travel.
Last year, NESCAC placed a ban on international team travel that remains in effect today. The swim team, which has held winter training in locales such as Mexico and Barbados in recent years, will train in Florida this upcoming January.
Teams have also reduced the number of overnight competitions, traveling to and competing at venues in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut in one day.
According to Meagher, "The administration is doing all the right things."
"We've had to make adjustments and be more responsible, but we've been very fortunate in that there's been no change as far as attention to core issues," he said.
O'Leary echoed these sentiments.
"While not optimal to travel to Connecticut on the same day for a NESCAC contest, it appears a small sacrifice when one looks at the lay off's at peer institutions as a result of the economic downturn."
"We've trimmed some edges in the athletic department, but it hasn't really affected the quality of what we're doing," said McCabe.