Faced with a tight budget, Eastern Illinois University will begin cutting athletic scholarships as opposed to cutting an entire sport.
According to the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, the school was mulling three options to get a handle on its finances: cut a sport and lose a chunk of revenue; cut scholarships; or do nothing and operate at a deficit with the hope of boosting enrollment.
“We believe it is in the best interests of the university and for all of our student-athletes who wish to compete in Division I sports at EIU that we continue all of our current sports programs that we have,” university president David Glassman told the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier.
The resulting cuts will reportedly reduce the number of available scholarships by 20, a move which will have a near-equal impact across the school’s 21 sports. Reducing scholarships will result in a savings to the athletic department of about $400,000.
No current student-athletes will lose their scholarships as a result of the shift in policy, which will be implemented over a period of two years.
However, Glassman noted that the competitiveness of teams could be negatively affected.
“Anytime you reduce the number of scholarships, it has the possibility of disadvantaging the strength of that particular team,” Glassman said. “Obviously, scholarships are what students are looking for.”