As high schools and universities all over the country face budget shortfalls due to the economic crunch, many have been forced to make cutbacks in their athletic programs a mandate that delights them. "I've been wanting to scrap our field hockey team for 20 years," said Bob Ratliff, athletics director at Schenkley Park High in Mankato, Minn. "Now that it's gone, I don't have to go to their games anymore and pretend I care." Other schools have found creative ways to work around the issue. "Our superintendent told me I had to trim the budget for football, basketball and baseball," said Keith Ritschel, athletics director at Lippman College in Illinois. "Instead I cut the art, drama and band departments. He loved it."