The University of Minnesota has made the difficult decision to cut men's indoor track and field, men's tennis and men's gymnastics teams at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
The school’s Board of Regents voted to eliminate the three sports while removing men’s outdoor track and field from the sports slated to be cut.
According to Sports Illustrated, a motion was made to delay the vote but that was rejected. The proposal to eliminate three sports was passed on a 7-5 vote.
The decision was made in the shadow of the athletic department’s approximate $75 million projected revenue loss. As has been the case with most other schools that have cut sports, the current athletes impacted by the move will have their scholarships honored through their graduation. The university will also allow athletes to transfer.
JUST ANNOUNCED: The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has voted 7-5 to eliminate the men’s indoor track & field, men’s tennis and men’s gymnastics teams at the end of the 2020-21 season— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) October 9, 2020
A revised proposal was submitted today & took outdoor track and field out of the cuts pic.twitter.com/pVJye0LEn7
In keeping with Title IX rules, UM said it is maintaining the correct men’s to women’s sports ratio and no other women’s sports will need to be eliminated in the future.
Athletic director Mark Coyle said the cuts will save the school about $1.6 million.
"Clearly, this was a done deal, made long ago by choice and not a necessity - because there is no doubt people would contribute to support this program,"wrote former member of the Gopher men’s track and field program and 2016 Olympian Ben Blankenship on Twitter last month. "I am proud of the community I was part of but now I only represent my fellow athletes and the coaches who made this program a success. Never again will I represent the University of Minnesota as an institution. What a sham."
More than 25,700 people have signed a Change.org petition to reinstate the men's track and field team.