DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnston announced Wednesday the decision to discontinue eight intercollegiate athletic programs, effective immediately.
The sports include women’s equestrian, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse, co-ed sailing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s tennis.
Johnson said the university will provide support and advisement to the 94 students affected.
“Although these changes will serve UMass Dartmouth Athletics and its student body well for years to come, I cannot begin to imagine the sense of loss our student-athletes must feel at this moment,” he wrote in a news release.
“I want them to know that this decision in no way reflects their tremendous contribution to our University,” he continued. “It is because of these contributions — not just on the field — but in the classrooms, labs, and in the community that makes our student-athletes such valuable members of our community.”
The university noted the decision is unrelated to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, saying the process began long before with multiple reviews conducted over the past decade to figure out a long-term plan that would provide the best competitive and co-curricular experiences for student-athletes. The reviews took into account available resources, gender equity, enrollment, full-time/part-time coaches, sports sponsorship trends, facilities, and strengths and weaknesses of the programs, according to the university.
“Though the review and subsequent actions taken on the future of intercollegiate athletics was needed, I am deeply saddened by having to discontinue sponsorship of these programs.” Athletic Director Amanda Van Voorhis said. “The implementation of this action now will allow our department to work within a sustainable financial model going forward, and we will continue to provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”
The savings that come with the changes will be distributed among UMass Dartmouth’s remaining 17 athletic programs, the university said.
“We realize how difficult this decision is, but I want to reaffirm our commitment to athletics and student-athletes at UMass Dartmouth,” Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance David Gingerella said. “This is not a cost-cutting measure, it is a re-allocation of resources within Athletics for future success.”
Visit UMass Dartmouth’s website for more resources and information.