The University of Connecticut is officially eliminating four of its sports programs, becoming the latest school to make significant cuts from its athletics program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
UConn eliminates four sports programs
UConn’s athletic director David Benedict proposed sweeping cuts for the athletic department to the school’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday. The board made the cuts official, per the Hartford Courant’s Alexa Philippou, approving the ned budget on Wednesday.
Following the decision, the Huskies will eliminate their men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s rowing programs at the end of the 2020-’21 academic year.
The elimination of the four programs comes at a time when UConn is trying to cut 25% of an estimated $40 million subsidy over the next three years, per TheUConnBlog. The university projects it will incur a $50 million shortfall in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
The move will affect 124 student-athletes and reduce the number of sponsored sports at UConn from 24 to 20. It will also impact multiple student-athletes who are either on scholarship or a partial scholarship.
According to the Hartford Courant’s Dan Brechlin, UConn has 14.7 full scholarships for its rowing program and 25 athletes receive financial aid. In total, the university spends around $1.5 million per year on the team. The men’s swimming and diving team cost UConn around $720,000, while the rowing program costs.
UConn will honor all scholarships for student-athletes who are impacted by the decision and choose to stay at the university.
As part of the budgetary cuts, UConn will reduce its operating expenses by 15% and cut the number of scholarships for the rest of the athletic department. In total, per the university’s statement, it will save approximately $10 million annually.
COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on college sports
Unfortunately, UConn joins a growing list of schools that decided to eliminate one or more of its sports programs. The COVID-19 pandemic led to spring sports being canceled early in the season and closed campuses across the country.
- Alabama-Huntsville eliminated two sports programs
- Furman University eliminated two sports, including baseball
- Bowling Green State University terminated its baseball program, before reinstating it after donors raised $1.5 million.
- The University of Akron wiped out three of its sports teams
- The University of Cincinnati discontinued its men’s soccer program
As a result of the lost revenue, universities have taken a significant financial hit and it will only worsen if the college football season is canceled.