The Duquesne University Athletic Department announced today that it was cutting 4 athletics programs: baseball, men’s swimming, men’s golf, and men’s wrestling. The move was made to offset budget shortfalls in the other sports, and the University claims that more than $1 million will be allocated to other programs.
SwimmingWorldMagazine has reported that there is leaked information that the team might have been given a $2 million goal to avoid being shut down, although that information could not be confirmed. Considering the AD’s statement that $1 million would be re-allocated from all 4 programs, $2 million seems like a high goal.
The most troubling aspect of this development is the fact that all 70 athletes that are losing their spot are male, perhaps another unwanted byproduct of Title IX legislation.
The Duquesne men’s swim team is a member of the Atlantic-10 Conference and was ranked no. 25 in the most recent CSCAA Division-1 Mid Major poll.
Here is the full release from the Duquesne University Athletics Department:
PITTSBURGH – Duquesne University today announced a strategic restructuring of its varsity sports program in an effort to maximize financial resources and ensure sustained athletic success. The move will reduce the number of varsity sports from 20 to 16 and keep all related scholarship and operational funding within the athletic department.
“Focusing on and strengthening a core group of sports will maximize our ability to compete at the highest level, enhance the student athlete experience, and better utilize existing funding,” said Greg Amodio, Duquesne athletic director. More than $1M will be reallocated annually throughout the athletics program as a result of the move, which will discontinue baseball, men’s swimming, men’s golf and wrestling.
“This action is in no way meant to diminish the dedication, effort or ability of these fine student athletes, coaches and alumni. They have contributed greatly to Duquesne athletics and to the vitality and history of the University,” Amodio said.
As many as 70 student athletes will be affected by the elimination of these sports. Four full-time and one part-time coaching position will be eliminated. All coaches will remain on contract through June 2010.
The student athletes currently participating in the affected sports who plan to complete their undergraduate education at Duquesne University will continue to receive their athletic scholarships at their current levels for a period equal to their remaining eligibility.
The athletic department will also assist athletes in these sports that choose to transfer to another institution.
“The decision follows an extended period of comprehensive research,” Amodio said. “Although it is an extremely difficult move, it will place the athletics program in the very best position to be successful in the future,” he said, adding that this will better align the programs offered with the department’s operational budget and donor base.
“The fiscal challenges facing collegiate athletic departments across the country require making difficult decisions to ensure viability,” he said. “We are committed to maintaining a financially prudent athletics program while providing our student athletes with a positive environment to achieve their academic and athletic aspirations.”
Duquesne University athletics currently serves more than 475 students with a $10.8 million operating budget.