The University of Minnesota has made the difficult decision to cut three athletics programs, citing a substantial projected revenue loss.
The Gophers’ athletic department said in a statement on the school’s website that its athletic department was facing a $75 million loss of revenue in the coming year as the reason for the cuts.
“As a result, we have determined that Athletics is no longer able to financially or equitably sustain 25 varsity programs, and pending approval of the Board of Regents, we will discontinue men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, men's gymnastics and men's tennis at the completion of their 2020-21 competition season,” the statement read. “Should health and safety precautions allow, these teams will have the opportunity to compete during the 2020-21 season.”
The school said that a number of factors figured into which programs would be cut, including
“In addition to the financial challenges and gender-equity commitments, we also considered community impact, local and national interest, competitiveness, and sport sponsorship at the Big Ten and NCAA Division I level when making this decision,” the school said.
Student-athletes of the impacted teams will continue to have access to athletic, academic and mental health support throughout their 2020-21 competition season, and Minnesota will continue to honor all existing scholarships for individuals who choose to complete their undergraduate degree at Minnesota, while still offering them access to academic advising, sports psychology and necessary access to athletic medicine.
The school said it will also assist any student-athlete who decides to transfer and support them through the transition process.
In addition to adjusting its sport offerings Minnesota also announced a personnel cost-reduction plan for Athletics. This is in addition to the University's previously implemented furlough and pay-reduction plan, which members of the athletic department already participated in. Most academic professional and administrative employees will be subject to a 10 percent reduction in appointment, while civil service and labor represented employees will be furloughed for 17 days. These impacts will continue for the remainder of the fiscal year. Employees who make $40,000 or less will not be impacted.