Wisconsin university cuts men’s soccer, tennis programs
The university issued a statement Monday saying the teams and their coaches will be dropped after the 2015-16 season. The athletic department also will combine the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams “under a restructured coaching staff,” according to the university.From UW-Oshkosh:
“With a significant budget reduction being anticipated from the state, it makes sense to look at the portfolio of programs being offered and decide what still makes sense for UWO,” UW Oshkosh Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Darryl Sims said. “We owe it to our students to provide a high-quality and positive competitive experience. As costs rise and budgets shrink that becomes more difficult therefore we need to look at what we offer with a critical eye.”
The criteria used in defining the effected programs included the level of achievement the student-athletes can attain and the need to better align the full array of programs with guidelines set in Title IX. The Title IX statute is designed to prevent discrimination based on gender and over the years has evolved to include guidelines around appropriate gender balance on the roster of all programs offered.
“We looked at whether the sport had a conference championship to participate in and if it was an automatic qualifier in the WIAC conference, among other criteria,” Sims said. “If we offer a varsity sport, we want to make sure the experience is optimal for the student-athlete, and if not then we need to decide if the funds to operate it are better leveraged in other programs.”
UW Oshkosh is committed to the success of all student-athletes and believes in providing a competitive and rewarding experience. This decision is a result of an analysis done in 2010 on the Athletics department structure in addition to a financial audit in 2014. With rising operating costs and a tighter budget, UW Oshkosh can provide a better experience for the remaining sports by reducing the programs in the array of offerings.
“This is the hardest decision I’ve had to make as the athletic director,” Sims said. “It affects the lives our student-athletes, the impacted coaches and the whole athletics department.”
University officials said the decision was being made now to give student-athletes time to consider their options. Approximately 35 student-athletes are affected by the decision.