ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Last March, the University of Michigan informed the Boxing Club that they would no longer be a sponsored sport.
It was a shock to the coaches, athletes and alumni. Despite their efforts to appeal, it looks like boxing will cease to exist on campus.
The boxing club dates back to the 1940s and the modern iteration started back up in 1983. It’s a club sport, not varsity -- meaning the university sponsors it and provides the space to train.
The club runs itself through dues and donations. There is a non-competitive team and a team that competes on the national level.
A statement from the Director of Recreational Sports at the university released a statement that reads in part:
“The nature of the sport of boxing does not allow the purposeful contact to a participant’s head to be appropriately controlled or eliminated.”
“The contact to the head that occurs in boxing, even at the amateur level, cannot be reasonably or appropriately controlled to the point where the institution is comfortable in continuing to sponsor this activity as a sponsored student organization.”
The club appealed with safety data, saying:
“At a local level, UM Club Boxing has never documented any instances of boxers experiencing long-term, deleterious effects of head injury. In nearly four decades of UM Club Boxing, there have been zero cases of hospitalizations resulting from head injuries during competitions or practices.”
They included testimonials from athletes, coaches, alumni and even other clubs like one from Ohio State University that vouched for its rival. The appeal was still denied.
The university said the boxing club can pursue status as a voluntary student organization, which would allow students to continue to box. But they would not be able to use the university block M on uniforms.
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