University of Connecticut

UConn Athletics to Eliminate Four Sports, Reduce Some Scholarships

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UConn athletics is cutting four sports at the end of the 2020-21 season and will be reducing some scholarship. 

UConn Athletics said it had to cut 25 percent of the budget from the university, around $10 million by 2023, and it will eliminate men’s cross country; women’s rowing; men’s swimming and diving; and men’s tennis. Around 124 student-athletes and at least four coaches will be affected.

The university is also reducing the cost of scholarships, including for athletics, beginning in the 2020-21 academic year and the number of scholarships offered in men’s golf and men’s track and field will be decreased.

UConn Athletics said the school will honor all scholarships of affected student-athletes who choose to continue their education at UConn and complete their degree in four years.

UConn football wasn’t cut or moved to the FCS level because the savings would be outweighed by a decline in revenue opportunities, according to UConn Athletics.

They said an agreement with CBS Sports Network, a multi-media marketing rights deal with Learfield/IMG College and the all-sport equipment deal with Nike would suffer or would not exist at all if the school dropped to the FCS level.

“While this is a painful decision, it is in the best interest of the long-term viability of UConn and UConn athletics,” UConn President Thomas Katsouleas said in a statement.

UConn said the Division of Athletics started a review well before the financial stress the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. 

“For several years, the level of institutional financial support committed to athletics has been growing. Today, we shared some difficult decisions that nonetheless should chart a course towards better financial sustainability at a level of support and sport sponsorship more in line with our peers,” Katsouleas said in a statement. 

“This was a very difficult, but necessary, decision,” director of athletics David Benedict said in a statement. “Reducing expenses is critical to our financial sustainability but that doesn’t make this decision any more palatable for the student-athletes and coaches on the affected teams.  We are committed to providing impacted Huskies with our full support during this transition, whether they wish to stay at UConn or transfer to another institution. Despite our current emotions, we are optimistic that the financial plan approved today will serve as an important roadmap for a bright future for UConn athletics.” 

The UConn Division of Athletics is also cutting operating expenses by 15 percent and plans to meet that goal in part by having more regionalized non-conference team travel for some sports and fewer summer school classes for student-athletes. 

Director of athletics David Benedict has taken a voluntary 15 percent pay reduction and will not take any cash bonuses. UConn athletics said the coaches are represented by the AAUP and cons

NCAA transfer rules allow affected student-athletes who transfer to another university to immediately be eligible for competition when an institution eliminates or announces the elimination of the sport in which the student-athlete competed, according to UConn.

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