Fresno State Eliminating Three Athletic Programs

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The Fresno State athletic department is looking to ensure long-term financial sustainability by eliminating three programs after the 2020-21 school year.

The NCAA Division I California State University in Fresno announced its athletics changes Friday, saying that lacrosse, men’s tennis and wrestling will be dropped “in response to ongoing financial challenges for Fresno State Athletics, whose revenues have been dramatically impacted this fiscal year by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The announcement leaves Fresno State with 12 women’s and six men’s sports, while the moves are expected to lead to an overall annual budget savings of about $2.5 million. Fresno State athletics is estimating a $6.6 million operating deficit this fiscal year “due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the sports teams’ competitive seasons and the related result of not being able to have fans in its venues.”

"Today's decision is difficult for everyone and yet it is a necessary step to ensure the financial viability of our Athletics Department,” Fresno State president Joseph I. Castro said in the release.

The cuts impact 70 student-athletes, who will continue to be offered financial assistance as well as help if they choose to transfer. The frequently asked questions section of the announcement said that the three soon-to-be eliminated sports accounted for 23.7 scholarships in 2019-20, which cost the university $800,000.

"With these reductions, the future of our overall athletics endeavor becomes more fiscally solvent and in better alignment with our conference and competitive peers. In order for us to fulfill our mission of preparing the future leaders of our Valley community, responsible action had to be taken at this time despite how emotionally difficult it is for our students," director of athletics Terry Tumey said in a statement. "Fresno State Athletics has always been known for our determination, resilience and character, and in this pivotal moment in our athletics history, we must come together now more than ever."

Fresno State’s wrestling program was reinstated in 2016 after being discontinued in 2006. The varsity lacrosse program started in 2009, while the men’s tennis team began competing in Division I in 1971.

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