The COVID-19 pandemic has led a private NCAA Division II university in Texas to discontinue six of its athletic programs.
St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas announced Wednesday that the men’s soccer program, men’s and women’s tennis programs, and men’s and women’s golf programs will be cut after the spring semester. Cheerleading will transition into a club team in the RecWell Department.
“It really is a sad day,” associate vice president for athletics Debbie Taylor told the Austin American-Statesman. “Coaches pour their hearts and souls into their athletes and programs, and that’s hard. There’s just a sadness for the department as a whole. They were all very successful.
“It came down to having to cut costs substantially. Most of the actual loss of revenue will be in tuition with unpredictable enrollment due to COVID-19.”
The university’s release said that the programs were cut after a “comprehensive evaluation of the athletics program including sport sponsorship, state of available facilities, cost of running programs and future enrollment expectations.” The belief is that the dropped programs will allow St. Edward’s to redistribute more resources to men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s track, women’s soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball and esports. The university only charges admission to basketball and volleyball events.
“I am deeply grateful to the coaches who have worked diligently over the years to build nationally recognized and well-respected programs,” Taylor said in the release. “As we make this difficult transition, I know that all of our coaches and staff members have our student-athletes as a top priority and will work closely with them to support their needs.”
The university, which has about 4,000 undergraduate students, stated that it will honor all scholarships for impacted athletes, and will give them an immediate release if they choose to transfer. Taylor told the Statesman that the cuts will impact 73 student-athletes.
“It came out of the blue,” men’s golf coach Chris Hill told the Statesman. “I just got a verbal commitment from a 2021 kid two nights ago and just made up my schedule for next year this morning. It doesn’t make any sense to me because our golf program is healthy.”
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