Appalachian State became the latest school to cut athletic programs to counteract financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic, announcing Tuesday that it will eliminate three men’s sports: soccer, tennis and indoor track & field.
“This is a very difficult day for the entire App Family,” App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “Our mission is to guide and support our student-athletes in their quest for excellence academically, athletically and socially. After careful and thoughtful review, we determined that we could no longer sustain 20 program offerings in a fiscally responsible manner. Since the move to FBS, App State has sponsored the most sports in the Sun Belt and among the most in the Group of Five. This will bring us in line with most of our peer institutions.”
The school joins East Carolina, which cut four programs last week, in making drastic changes to its athletic program in order get costs under control.
Reducing the number of teams at Appalachian State — the school will now have 17 programs; seven for men and 10 for women — is part of a 20% budget cut for the upcoming fiscal year that will save approximately $5 million.
The school will honor the scholarships of athletes in the downsized sports and also any signees. App State will also assist student-athletes who want to transfer to another school. The rosters listed on the school’s athletics website for those three teams total more than 70 student-athletes.
The athletic department is also freezing hiring on vacant positions and could make further “personnel actions.”
“We take all these measures with heavy hearts, but with the long-term sustainability of App State Athletics at the forefront,” Gillin said. “The App Family is known for its strength and resilience. This is a pivotal moment for App State Athletics. It is in this moment that we must take responsible action to ensure our athletics department’s ability to fulfill our purpose and mission for years to come.”