Last Updated on February 6, 2024
Loyola Marymount University will cut six of its 20 intercollegiate sports programs at the end of the 2023-24 competitive season, citing name, image, and likeness, new transfer rules, and the rapidly changing landscape of college sports.
Among the sports cut are three men’s teams (rowing, cross country, track and field) and three women’s teams (rowing, track and field, swimming), with 115 college athletes, five full-time and two part-time coaches impacted. Currently, LMU has the highest number of college athletes in the West Coast Conference — a figure that will be cut by over 25% come the end of the academic year.
LMU will still honor the financial aid commitments to college athletes on the teams cut for the remainder of their undergraduate careers. College athletes will also receive assistance from the school if they choose to transfer, and club sports remain an option for those who stay.
A university website with frequently asked questions about the decision mentions several considerations taken into account, including the impact of changes to NCAA rules, LMU Athletics’ future positioning, and continued legal compliance. Pending rulings on college athletes as employees are a source of worry, though NCAA President Charlie Baker and members of Congress recently agreed this classification would not be the most beneficial.
A statement circulated by the school also mentions the NCAA vs. Alston lawsuit in 2021, which stipulates that “every student-athlete participant, regardless of scholarship status, is eligible for up to $5,980 annually.” LMU, however, is not currently required by the NCAA to make these payments to college athletes.
The statement also mentions NIL and the creation of collectives in response, stating that the school has recently hired a staff member to educate college athletes on the business side of college athletics and manage university compliance with NIL rules. Nevertheless, it isn’t clear how NIL directly relates to the eliminated programs other than how LMU sees itself adapting to the future of college athletics.
Baker’s Project DI proposal is also referred to in the statement, specifically the aspect that calls for a subdivision that would require schools to invest at least $30,000 per year for at least half of eligible college athletes. The proposal states the subdivision would be “comprised of institutions with the highest resources,” though, which applies more to institutions much bigger than LMU.
A petition was created by LMU swimmer Alena Sharp in response to the announcement. As of Feb. 6, it had over 6,200 signatures in support of reinstating the six cut programs. However, the FAQ page specifies that the decision cannot be appealed or reconsidered, stating “the LMU Athletic Director made this decision with the full support of university leadership.”