The post-Covid-19 college athletic scene is going to very different from what we’re used to. As of today, Furman University decided to discontinue its Division 1 men’s baseball and lacrosse team “in an effort to address the unprecedented financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the university’s website. The university will also cut the salaries of the president and senior administrators, implement furloughs and budget reductions. Like most universities, Furman is expecting a decrease in enrollment this fall as many students and athletes decide to postpone college or enroll at schools closer to their homes. The combined losses in tuition and other revenues along with the added costs of the pandemic are expected to result in a multimillion-dollar deficit for Furman in the coming fiscal year.
The last men’s DI lacrosse program to be shut down was Presbyterian, also in South Carolina, in 2011. 12 Furman men’s lacrosse players have now entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. Furman baseball meant about everything to people in South Carolina if they didn’t root for the Tigers or Gamecocks. Furman University began playing college baseball in 1896, over 125 years ago. Furman is the second school to cut baseball in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the financial crisis affecting college athletics. Bowling Green State was the first, eliminating its program on May 15.
Cincinnati has permanently cut its men’s soccer program. Old Dominion has cut wrestling. Akron eliminated three sports — golf, tennis and cross country. Louisville has furloughed 45 athletic department staffers. Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Syracuse, Rutgers, Minnesota, Texas Tech and Iowa State have handed out pay cuts from the top-to-bottom. Non-revenue college sports will be the financial casualties of the COVID-19 shutdown.
Fall sports are still up in air, but programs that don’t generate much profit will continue to disappear. As part of strategic budget planning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Michigan announced today the decision to discontinue its men’s track and field program, effective immediately. Landscape of college sports is on fire. The list of post-secondary colleges that will lose varsity sports will continue to get longer and longer.