No one is safe from the economic fallout from the coronavirus, not least of all the nation’s cash-strapped college sports programs.
According to every athletic department press release from the universities listed below, affected student-athletes will have the ability to transfer schools, if they wish. Many schools will also continue to provide scholarships for student athletes left without a team.
Central Michigan University announced on May 19 that it would cut its track and field program. “We did not make this decision lightly,” said CMU Athletics Director Michael Alford. “But we are facing a new financial reality due to enrollment challenges and now COVID-19.”
In mid-April, University of Cincinnati announced it would discontinue its soccer program. “Our men’s soccer student-athletes have been outstanding representatives of the University in the classroom and on the field,” UC Athletic Director John Cunningham said. “They may not fully understand this decision, but I want them to know they were truly and conscientiously considered during my deliberations about the future of UC Athletics. We are making this decision now to enable our men’s soccer student-athletes to have an opportunity to play at another institution if they choose to do so.”
On April 2, ODU announced it would discontinue its wrestling program. Each of the team’s 32 wrestlers will maintain their scholarships. The decision to cut the program was aided by a six-month consulting study that identified the ODU athletic department’s financial challenges and evaluated Title IX compliance.
On Monday, the South Carolina college cut two spring sports: baseball and men’s lacrosse. “We are taking these steps to ensure that our university can thrive and continue to carry out its academic mission at the highest level of quality and engagement,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis.
At the beginning of the month, Tim Reynolds of the AP reported that Florida International University lost its men’s indoor track and field team. While the indoor track season has been dissolved, the outdoor track season remains.
The University of Wisconsin Green Bay will indefinitely suspend its tennis teams at the end of the year. The move will not affect the schools standing in the Horizon League and it is estimated to save Green Bay hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On friday, Bowling Green cut its baseball program. The university’s athletic director, Bob Moosbrugger, in a statement, said his “heart breaks for the families affected by this decision … We will ensure the student-athletes in the program have support during this challenging time. We will honor their scholarship agreements through graduation and, should they pursue their collegiate baseball career elsewhere, we will assist in the process of finding a new home.”
Akron University has cut more sports programs than any school on this list. “These decisions are very difficult but they are important and necessary at this time,” Athletic Director Larry Williams, said. Williams said these cuts were on the horizon, and the pandemic accelerated them.
While Akron will help affected athletes transfer schools, Akron’s statement did not mention continuing scholarships for student-athletes.