In lieu of cutting athletics programs, the University of Evansville will reduce the number of scholarships it offers across 10 programs.
UE athletics director Mark Spencer told the Evansville Courier & Press that everything is on the table as it works to remain financially solvent amid the pandemic. UE has considered everything from joining another conference, leaving the NCAA altogether, and cutting sports.
Eliminating the number of scholarships it grants has emerged as the core strategy in an effort to save $1.1 million over the next few years. An additional $300,000 in annual savings is expected through an updated room and board policy for athletic scholarship recipients.
The school hopes to keep all 17 of its athletic programs.
“Our roster size isn’t huge in the sports we had identified for this, but also wanted to make sure we left enough scholarships in those sports to remain competitive in the conference,” Spencer told the Courier & Press, according to SwimSwam. “If you look at swimming: If you look at our history, we finish within one spot in the conference every year as a team.
“We don’t expect that to really change a whole lot with these scholarship reductions. Can we have individual success? Absolutely. Our kids always fight for championships, but you may not have as many full-scholarship swimmers, golfers, and track and field folks as we’ve had in the past.”
The reductions are expected to primarily impact golf, swimming, and track and field programs.
In a press release, the school said it presently has 239 student-athletes and 189 of those receive partial scholarships. The school believes that the loss of the tuition from those student-athletes if the school moved to Division II or Division III would offset any cost savings.