Minnesota is the latest athletic department forced to cut sports.
The school announced on Thursday afternoon that it will be cutting men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, men's gymnastics and men's tennis due to a budget shortfall exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Big Ten's postponement of fall sports.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Big Ten's decision to postpone fall 2020-21 sports has greatly increased the financial concerns. Our athletic department is now facing a projected loss of revenue of approximately $75 million just this fiscal year. This is a significant deficit and one that will have an impact for years to come. At the same time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide Title IX gender-equitable participation opportunities that are closely aligned with our male and female undergraduate enrollment percentages. We are mindful that our sport programs have worked to adjust their participation opportunities to keep pace with our growing female undergraduate population percentages.
As a result, we have determined that Athletics is no longer able to financially or equitably sustain 25 varsity programs, and pending approval of the Board of Regents, we will discontinue men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, men's gymnastics and men's tennis at the completion of their 2020-21 competition season. Should health and safety precautions allow, these teams will have the opportunity to compete during the 2020-21 season.
Minnesota joins a number of schools forced to cut sports to address a budget shortfall, a list headlined by Stanford, which announced the discontinuation of 11 varsity sports following the 2020-21 athletic season.
Ohio State currently sponsors 37 varsity sports – more than any other athletic department in the country – but during a July press conference, athletic director Gene Smith said that Ohio State was avoiding eliminating any sports or implement pay cuts for coaches at that point in time.