The COVID-19 crisis has claimed yet another college team, as Central Michigan University announced Tuesday that the school would cut men’s track and field effective immediately.
“We did not make this decision lightly, but we are facing a new financial reality due to enrollment challenges and now COVID-19,” athletic director Michael Alford said in a release announcing the move.
"Hundreds of students have participated in this longstanding, successful program at Central Michigan, and we know this will impact them — and supporters of this program — greatly."
In all, 36 student-athletes will be directly impacted, and two full-time assistant positions will be eliminated. The school said all current scholarships would be honored for the duration of those student-athletes’ academic careers at CMU, including scholarships that were awarded to new students starting in the fall. Those who wish to transfer will be granted a release without penalty.
"My heart goes out to these student-athletes; I know this is incredibly difficult for them," Alford said. "We hope they continue their academic journeys at Central Michigan, but also wish them the best if they're able to continue athletic pursuits elsewhere."
The change leaves the Chippewas with 16 varsity athletic programs, the minimum number of sponsored sports to retain FBS status. Those sports include men's and women's basketball, football, women's soccer, women's golf, baseball, softball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, women's track and field, gymnastics, women's lacrosse, softball, volleyball and wrestling.