ECU eliminates 4 athletic teams amid COVID-19 pandemic

Sports

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – East Carolina University is eliminating four athletic programs as the school looks to restructure its budget amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECU is eliminating men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s tennis.

“The athletics department was faced with a $7.5 million deficit this fiscal year. The pandemic has increased the deficit to an estimated $10.2 million,” the school said.

A total of 68 student-athletes and nine coaches are affected by the move.

The NCAA requires all Division I FBS schools to have 16 sports with a minimum of eight women’s sports and six men’s sports.

ECU said it will still have 16 sports – nine women’s, seven men’s – so no other cuts will be made to programs.

Along with eliminating the four teams, other cost-saving measures are being made by the University.

Those changes include significant cuts to operations within athletics, an elimination of several vacant positions, a limit on summer school for student-athletes and suspending all professional development/conferences for a minimum of one year.

“Today’s decision came after a deliberate review and in-depth analysis of the athletics department’s budgets and programs,” said Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson. “The current athletics budget was not sustainable pre-COVID-19 and the university was working closely with athletics to decrease the annual deficit over the next year.”

The university will honor all scholarships of affected student-athletes who want to continue studying at ECU and will complete their degree in four years.

Under NCAA transfer rules, students are immediately eligible for competition when the students’ original institution discontinues the sport in which the student practiced or competed.

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