PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Robert Morris University announced Tuesday it would be cutting seven of its varsity sports.
The university president and athletic director say it was a tough decision and that they had to keep in mind the balance between men’s and women’s sports.
And the university says it’s not cutting funding to athletics at all, just redistributing the existing funds across the remaining sports.
The school has 23 teams in the NEC conference – and 560 student athletes. That’s far more than any NEC school, including Pitt and WVU.
Simply put – the school’s athletic dollars have been spread too thin.
“Right size our athletic department to one that more fits the size of our school,” said Athletics Director Dr. Craig Coleman. “And then, take that money, reinvest it in the programs that remain and try to achieve excellence across the board.”
The sports now gone are Men’s Tennis, Cross-Country and Track – as well as Women’s Tennis, Field Hockey and Golf.
The school says the 80 student athletes affected are being taken care of.
“If they choose to remain here at Robert Morris – which we hope they do – to continue their education, if they’re on an athletic scholarship, we will honor that athletic scholarship until they graduate,” Coleman said. “So we want to put none of these kids at any economic hardship. They’ll keep their scholarships until they graduate if they choose to stay.”
However, if any of the students want to leave to go to a different school, Robert Morris says it will sign the necessary paperwork to allow that to happen.
One coaching position was also eliminated as a result of the cuts.
Officials say the left over money will go to things like additional scholarships, program funding , increasing travel budgets and facility upgrades.