The 14th annual CYO "M" Club Indoor annual track and field meet scheduled to be held at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House Jan. 9 has been canceled for lack of sponsor.
According to Jerry McGee, director of the event for the last two years, the meet, considered one of the top meets of its kind in the U.S., had to be dropped this year because a sponsor couldn't be found to undertake the costs.
"The reason the meet is canceled is simply because of no money," said McGee, track coach at Catholic University. "The expense of operating the meet at Maryland was very reasonable. But you add that to the lack of TV time and the high costs of getting the athletes to come here are running the meets out of business. We never made a polcy of paying athletes to come here but things have changed. What some of them are asking to compete is outrageous.
"It's very depressing, not being able to obtain a sponsor," McGee said. "This is the classiest meet anywhere. We have had 16 world records set here in the meet's first 13 years. Last year's meet was not successful because we didn't get all the athletes we wanted.There were some weak performances. In addition to canceling the big meet, we have to cancel the high school meet, too, which usually had around 2,800 entrants."
McGee said he and Maryland Athletic Director Jim Kehoe are in agreement that the meet is indeed still a good one and they have not abandoned hope of it being run again.
"Right now, there isn't much hope of running the meet this year," McGee said. "I would say a meet of this caliber runs in the neighborhood of $75,000. It's rather expensive. But all the money either went back into the community or into scholarships. No one made any money out of this meet. Fortunately, we didn't lose any. I definitely want to hold the meet again in January of '82."
Over the last 13 years, 11 under the directorship of Bob Comstock, the meet brought in such great track names as Willie Davenport, John Carlos, Dwight Stones, Marty Liquori, the late Steve Prefontaine, Kip Keino and, of course, Renaldo Nehemiah. Despite several consecutive years of cold, dreary weather, the meet averaged more than 9,000 in attendance.
"I'm disappointed the meet has to be dropped," said Comstock, an attorney and the man given credit for starting the meet. "All the meet needs is a corporate sponsor to back it. The talent is available and the area is a desirable place to hold the meet. I know this meet made careers for a lot of track people."