La Salle University has announced that it will cut 7 athletic programs at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. That includes men’s swimming & diving and men’s water polo.
La Salle cited budgetary reasons for the program cuts. The school will still offer both sports on the women’s side.
“Simply put, La Salle Athletics cannot continue to sponsor 25 varsity sports at a competitive level,” the school wrote in an open letter today. “The rising costs associated with providing a high-quality Division I student-athlete experience and the financial challenges incurred by the department contributed to this decision. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the need for this change.”
La Salle will cut the following teams:
- M swim/dive
- M tennis
- M water polo
- W tennis
La Salle notes in the letter that with 25 sports programs, the school currently sponsors more sports than any of the other 13 schools in the Atlantic-10 conference. (La Salle writes that Atlantic-10 schools currently average 19 intercollegiate sports teams, still above the NCAA average of 18 teams). The school says cutting down to 18 programs will improve the experience for student-athletes in the remaining 18 sports and will better align the school with its conference.
The cuts will come after the 2020-2021 school year, meaning athletes in the programs will be able to compete this season. The school says it will honor existing athletic scholarships and will help athletes who wish to transfer elsewhere to continue their athletic careers.
La Salle‘s men’s swimming & diving team finished 4th among 8 programs at last year’s Atlantic-10 Championships. The men’s water polo team finished with a 6-23 record. The Atlantic-10 doesn’t sponsor men’s water polo, and the team competes in the Mid-American Conference.
The school joins a long list of schools to eliminate swimming & diving programs this offseason. Here are the cuts already in Division I:
- Iowa (women & men)
- Boise State (women)
- UConn (men)
- Dartmouth (women & men)
- East Carolina (women & men)
- Western Illionis (women & men) – indefinitely suspended
- William & Mary (women & men)