PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — Brown University will reduce its number of varsity sports from 38 to 29 in a move designed to make the Bears more competitive in the Ivy League.
University president Christina H. Paxson announced the decision was unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced schools around the nation to slash athletic budgets.
The university said an external review of the athletic program in 2018-19 found the high number of varsity sports was a barrier to competitiveness.
In the preceding 10 years, Brown had won only 2.8% of all Ivy League championships, last in the league.
“We envision varsity athletes who, as Brown students, are among the most academically talented in the world, who also compete on teams that are among the most competitive among our peers,” Paxson said. “We have a vision for club sports that offer competitive athletic opportunities to a wide array of students, while also supporting health and well-being.”
Paxson acknowledged that the plan to reshape Brown athletics is bold, but it will allow the university to expand the recruiting in the admissions process and to ensure that the remaining varsity teams have properly-sized rosters.
“This initiative is not just about taking one step, but rather a core set of actions which, together, will set Brown on a positive path toward building a varsity athletics program for women and men that could be among the most competitive among Brown’s peers in the next 10 years,” she said.
Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes said there are seven coaches and 150 students involved in the programs being cut. He said supporting student-athletes on the teams that will transition to club status will be their top priority moving forward.
“We know there is disappointment whenever a college sports program reduces its roster of varsity teams,” Hayes said. “We will work closely with students to help them consider their options, and academic support services will be available to all returning student-athletes and incoming recruited students.”