George Washington University Athletics announced on Friday that the department will discontinue seven sports following the conclusion of the 2020-21 competitive season.
The affected sports are men's rowing, sailing, men's and women's squash (who are non-NCAA sports) as well as, men's indoor track, men's tennis and women's water polo.
This reduction from 27 sponsored sports to 20 comes after an internal review conducted due to the coronavirus pandemic. This upcoming year, the university is expected to face a $200 million projected revenue shortfall. GW's leadership took a comprehensive look at all programs to greater focus the resources.
"We understand how disappointing this is for many in our community, especially for the students whose GW athletics careers will be shortened, for our coaches and support staff, and for the alumni who helped build these programs," university president Thomas LeBlanc said in a release. "We also recognize the additional burden caused by the timing of this decision, when many are experiencing the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic. Still, we felt it important to talk directly with those affected to provide as much flexibility as possible to plan for the coming academic year and beyond, and to communicate transparently with our broader community. As hard as this decision was, we believe it is necessary to strengthen athletics and position our programs for future success with the resources we have. "
The discontinued sports will transition to club status starting in 2021. GW has offered to continue to award scholarships to athletes on the teams affected through their graduation. The university also said in the statement they will support any student wishing to transfer.
Already the Atlantic 10 - the primary conference affiliation for George Washington - has postponed all fall sporting events for the upcoming year. None of the programs in this cut were affected by the conference's decision.
GW is not the only school facing financial hardships during an unprecedented time. Many institutions across the country have cut non-revenue programs including Stanford, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Old Dominion others.
With the possibility of schools hosting fans in the fall looking bleaker and bleaker across the country, more schools may follow suit.
This story has been updated. A line ascribing a $200 million budget shortfall to the George Washington athletic department is the number for the entire university's projected revenue shortfall.
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