The school cites an “unsustainable financial trajectory,” noting that it had previously undertaken cost-cutting measures, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the school’s need to reduce its budget.
“As a department, we simply can no longer continue on an unsustainable financial trajectory,” wrote athletics director Samantha K. Huge in a letter to the school community. “We will do everything that we can for the impacted student-athletes and coaches, and I sincerely hope they are able to participate in one final season of competition. Today is a sad day for all of us who love William & Mary.”
William & Mary will cut seven sports following the 2020-2021 school year:
- Women’s swimming & diving
- Men’s swimming & diving
- Women’s gymnastics
- Men’s gymnastics
- Men’s outdoor track & field
- Men’s indoor track & field
That leaves W&M with 16 varsity sports. The school says it will save $3.66 million each year once it finishes paying out scholarships and coaching contracts in the cut sports. William & Mary’s athletics website includes some financial data on the decision: the school says it would take about $5.84 million each year to sustain those seven programs at a nationally-competitive level. And the school says it would need about $150 million in endowments to be able to continue those programs.
The school says it will honor athletic scholarships for athletes in the cut programs who choose to stay at the school.
William & Mary competes in the Colonial Athletic Association, or CAA. The William & Mary men have won six consecutive conference titles, and the women finished second among seven teams last season. Senior sprinter Colin Wright had W&M in line to score big points at NCAAs this year, at least on the men’s side. He went 18.98 in the 50 free to become just the fourth mid-major swimmer ever to break 19 seconds. He was seeded 4th into NCAAs before that meet was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, and was also seeded 8th in the 100 free.
William & Mary 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)