Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Loyola Marymount University announced it will be cutting six varsity sports programs at the end of the 2023-24 season.

In a Wednesday announcement, the university explained the cuts were in response to the changing landscape of the NCAA and would allow the school to allocate more resources to the remaining athletic programs.

LMU currently has 20 intercollegiate athletics programs with more than 400 student-athletes, which school officials said was the most in the West Coast Conference.

The six sports that will be discontinued are:

Men’s cross-country

Men’s rowing

Men’s track and field

Women’s rowing

Women’s swimming

Women’s track and field

In light of the news, some students told KTLA they were devastated as they had enrolled at LMU specifically to participate in one of the sports teams.

The surprising announcement caught LMU athlete, Avery Doan, completely off guard.

“It came out of left field, particularly since our teams have produced multiple All-Americans and professionals,” said Doan, who is part of the women’s cross-country track team.

Doan’s team will be one of the six varsity sports programs to be cut by the end of the season.

“The wording and the answers that we’ve gotten from the athletic department have been relatively vague and the meeting where we found out about this news, I left unsatisfied with the answers they were giving us,” she said.

Emily Valmas, a member of the rowing team, was in similar shock when she heard her sport was on the chopping block.

“At that moment you’re told, people who have devoted their lives to their sports for years and years and don’t know a life out of it, that is being taken away from them,” Valmas said.

According to the university, “The decision was reached after carefully considering various internal and external factors, including the transformational changes impacting college athletics nationally, from the advent of name, image, and likeness (NIL) to changing transfer rules to pending rulings on student-athletes as employees, among others.”

The sudden move comes at a time when there are large media deals for some sports, but those that don’t generate as much revenue will face an uncertain future.

“Our mission is to support our students in their pursuit of the highest level of success athletically, academically, and culturally,” said Craig Pintens, LMU Athletic Director. “This decision, while difficult, best positions our department and remaining Division I sports for success.”

Several students said what the decision also fails to recognize is the invaluable relationships they’ve built through the years from teamwork, coaching and sportsmanship.

“What wasn’t put into this decision is the fact that this isn’t just a team that’s being taken apart,” said Anna Doherty from the women’s swim team. “It actually does feel like our family has been kind of ripped apart here.”

“Us student-athletes deserve answers, and in time, I hope that we will get them,” said Georgia Gynan, from the women’s rowing team. “Until we do, we’re going to keep fighting for our sports, our coaches and our teams.”

Despite the cuts, however, the university said it will still honor affected students’ athletic scholarships and financial aid. The school will also continue offering club competition options and help any students who may decide to transfer to another school to continue their athletic careers.

“This is a tough day for many in our community, specifically our student-athletes and coaches in the impacted sports,” Pintens said. “In no way does this decision reflect on their commitment to their sports or the university. We hold these student-athletes and their coaches in high esteem and honor that commitment and their achievements.”

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