On Friday, the UC Davis athletics department announced the discontinuation of four teams – men’s swimming and diving, men’s indoor track and field, men’s wrestling and women’s rowing.
Even though the university has been fielding cuts across all departments, a cut to athletics is particularly visible because these four teams will no longer be seen.
Considering that up to nine teams could have been discontinued, the athletic department made the best of a bad situation by eliminating only four.
With that decision, the athletics department will remain a broad-based sports program as it still offers 23 sports – five more than the NCAA Division I average and three more than the closest Big West Conference schools, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
Of course, this cut causes pain and hardship to the over 150 athletes who are affected. They may not be able to play the sport they love anymore at UC Davis or may have to transfer to continue competing.
Even so, the university doesn’t leave these athletes completely out in the cold. Every affected athlete who is on scholarship will still receive grant-in-aid to attend school here for another year. These athletes also have the option to attempt to make their sport a club, allowing them to continue to compete at the college level.
When the campus-wide budget reductions of $36 million were announced in February, it included a $1.79 million cut to the intercollegiate athletic program. The cut of these four teams equates to about $500,000 over that amount, saving $5 million over the next five years.
While this cut may be tough to swallow, especially for the athletes and coaches from the teams that are affected, this was the best possible scenario of a necessary fate.