Appalachian State University became the latest program to announce sports cuts on Tuesday. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial impact it has caused, athletic director Doug Gillin announced that the university’s athletic department would discontinue men’s soccer, men’s tennis and men’s indoor track and field, effective immediately.
"This is a very difficult day for the entire App Family," Gillin said in a statement announcing the move. "Our mission is to guide and support our student-athletes in their quest for excellence academically, athletically and socially. After careful and thoughtful review, we determined that we could no longer sustain 20 program offerings in a fiscally responsible manner. Since the move to FBS, App State has sponsored the most sports in the Sun Belt and among the most in the Group of Five. This will bring us in line with most of our peer institutions.”
The cuts reduce the number of sponsored sports to 17. The move was made with the support of the university Board of Trustees as well as chancellor Sheri Everts.
The cuts were part of an effort to reduce the department’s budget by 20 percent — or about $5 million — ahead of fiscal year 2021. Gillin said that vacant positions within the department would go unfilled for the time being, and said that other personnel actions may be on the table. Meanwhile, App State will honor the scholarships of affected student-athletes who wish to return — including incoming signees.
"We take all these measures with heavy hearts, but with the long-term sustainability of App State Athletics at the forefront," Gillin said. "The App Family is known for its strength and resilience. This is a pivotal moment for App State Athletics. It is in this moment that we must take responsible action to ensure our athletics department's ability to fulfill our purpose and mission for years to come."