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’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 new budget on Wednesday.
As a result, 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.
It's official: UConn's Board of Trustees has approved the new budget, and the school confirms the elimination of the women's rowing, men's tennis, men's cross country, and men's swimming and diving programs with a statement.— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) June 24, 2020
124 student-athletes are affected
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.