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DAYTON, OH – Wright State University announced Wednesday it is reducing the number of its intercollegiate athletic programs by three, effective immediately.
The action is being taken as part of the university's overall budget restructuring efforts. Wright State is implementing a multiyear plan that will stabilize operations in the midst of lower projected enrollments and declining state support. The current COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for all areas of the university to reduce expenditures. Today's announcement is part of a plan for a $2 million reduction in the operating budget of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Affected programs are softball, men's tennis, and women's tennis. The move affects 39 student-athletes and six coaches. Wright State will now have 11 sports (six women's, five men's). In addition to the elimination of sports, several other measures will be taken to reduce athletics spending.
"This is extremely difficult because of our strong belief that athletics is an integral part of the educational work we do at Wright State — the education of the whole person," Wright State Director of Athletics Bob Grant said. "This affects the lives of students who make up a group of some of the highest achievers on this campus. A group that is achieving at record levels academically, giving back to the community, and is strongly engaged with the university. Our main focus now is supporting the students and coaches impacted by this decision."
NCAA Division I member institutions are required to sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender. Wright State has been in contact with the NCAA and will pursue a waiver to remain in compliance.
"These events are devastating in that they impact the lives of both our students and staff in a very negative way and cut deep into the fabric of supporting our students for success," said Wright State University President Sue Edwards. "These circumstances we find ourselves in are ones that all universities across the country find themselves facing. We are sadly going to have to make more decisions moving forward that will be difficult, but the long-term sustainability of the organization is key. I am personally very disappointed. Our students are the whole reason we are here, and our employees are the fabric of our institution, and this is truly painful to our Wright State family."
The university will honor all scholarships of affected student-athletes who want to continue studying at Wright State. Under NCAA transfer rules, students are immediately eligible for competition when the students' original institution discontinues the sport in which the students practiced or competed.
Wright State Athletics and university staff are committed to providing support to these student-athletes through the transition process. Members of the athletics compliance staff, academic staff, and leadership team are available to discuss scholarship, transfer information, academic advisement and counseling resources.
Words cannot express how devastated I am, and I haven’t fully processed this yet. I am honored to have coached a group of tremendous women who exemplify everything student-athlete should be. They deserve better than this. Please reach out to me for questions about any of them. https://t.co/oEC2ZYKnvn— Laura Matthews (@LauraMatthews12) June 3, 2020
Sadly Wright State has chosen to eliminate their softball program due to budget cuts? I am heartbroken. My first year was something special and I thank @LauraMatthews12 @k_haynes9 @MrBritt15 for everything they’ve done. I have decided to enter the transfer portal @WSU_SB ily!— Emily Daniel (@emily__d6) June 4, 2020
Unfortunately Wright State has chosen to eliminate softball and 2 other sports. ?, not only for my coaches and teammates but for the other athletes at WSU dealing with this. As of now I have decided to go into the transfer portal. Thank you @WSU_SB @LauraMatthews12 @k_haynes9— Grace (@gwgressly) June 3, 2020
Sadly Wright State has eliminated softball due to budget cuts ? Thank you for everything you gave me @WSU_SB and everything you’ve done for me @LauraMatthews12 @k_haynes9 @MrBritt15 I have decided to enter the transfer portal to look for a new home ❤️— cameron wesley ? (@camiwesley) June 4, 2020
Due to unfortunate circumstances I am looking for a new school to call my home where I can continue my academics & athletics. You can reach firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and @LauraMatthews12 for information. firstname.lastname@example.org— Caitlyn Shumaker (@20Cait_Lyn20) June 3, 2020
Due to unfortunate circumstances i’m looking for a new home to continue my softball career at the collegiate level, WSU program has cancelled. Please reach @joseforsky @HawksJoseforsky @LauraMatthews12 with any information, thanks for all your support! email@example.com— brooklynn linneman (@blinneman19) June 3, 2020
Due to the unforseen removal of the Wright State softball program, I am now looking for a new home to begin my collegiate career. Please contact @ShockwavesP @bhasseld @LauraMatthews12 with any questions. You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org— Emma Summers (@emmasummers2020) June 3, 2020
Due to the removal of the Wright State softball program, I am now looking for a new home to begin my collegiate career. Please contact @OHHawks18uGold @Whutch16 @LauraMatthews12 with any questions. You can also reach me at email@example.com— Logan Mueller (@LoganMueller13) June 4, 2020
Sadly, softball has been eliminated from the athletic department at Wright State. Thank you to my teammates and coaches for everything the last 3 years. Love you all. I have decided to enter the transfer portal and seek new opportunities. @k_haynes9 @LauraMatthews12 @WSU_SB ??— raidyn (@raidynk) June 3, 2020