Delaware State University cuts two sports programs
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Delaware State University will shut down their men’s tennis and women’s equestrian programs at the end of this school year in a cost cutting measure.
Hornet Athletic Director Derek Carter says the school cannot justify a $12 million a year athletic budget in the current economic climate. That $12 million sports price tag is currently the highest in their league, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
“The five MEAC institutions that are below DSU in what they spend on athletics all have budgets that are $8 to $9 million this year,” said Carter. “Couple that with the tough economic times that this university is facing, it is impossible to justify such a disparity between DSU and the other top institutions’ athletics spending.”
Delaware State expects to save $700,000 by dropping the two sports, and will also be looking for cost saving measures in its 15 remaining sports.
DSU President Harry L. Williams admits the decision “was extremely difficult,” but believes it is the correct move.
“We want all of DSU’s athletics teams to be competitive and win championships in the MEAC, but it is impossible to support all our teams toward that end with a budget that is spread too thin,” said Dr. Williams. “While it is not a decision we wanted to make, we are confident that it is in the best interest of the overall athletics program and the University as a whole.”
Both teams will complete their current seasons.
The Hornet tennis team went 2-3 in the fall portion of its schedule, and has 10 matches scheduled this spring, starting February 20th. The team went 11-14 with a 4-5 MEAC record the two seasons prior to this one.
The Lady Hornet equestrian team is in just its fourth season at DSU, but has made some impressive strides in that brief time. DSU sent its English riders to the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in each of the last two seasons.
Carter said DSU decided to make the announcement now so members of both teams would have additional time to examine their options going forward.
“We know today’s announcement is not good news for our men’s tennis and equestrian team members, their dedicated coaches and their faithful supporters,” Carter said. “While we hope that the student-athletes from the affected teams will continue to attend DSU, we will understand if they decide to transfer to another institution and are prepared to assist them any way we can.”
The decision to cut men’s tennis and equestrian comes just a year after DSU eliminated its wrestling program. The school cited economic and gender equity reasons, along with academic deficiencies when it discontinued wrestling last April. The wrestling program was facing NCAA sanctions for its inability to make sufficient improvement in its NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores.