Wright State University has announced it will cut softball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis, effective immediately. The move is a direct result of the athletic department being asked to reduce the university’s financial support of athletics by nearly 20% ($2 million) for fiscal year 2021 and beyond.
“This is extremely difficult because of our strong belief that athletics is an integral part of the educational work we do at Wright State — the education of the whole person,” Wright State Director of Athletics Bob Grant said. “This affects the lives of students who make up a group of some of the highest achievers on this campus. A group that is achieving at record levels academically, giving back to the community, and is strongly engaged with the university. Our main focus now is supporting the students and coaches impacted by this decision.”
The eliminations impact 39 student-athletes and six coaches. Wright State will now have 11 sports (six women’s and five men’s), which is less than NCAA requirements for Division I institutions. As a non-FBS member of Division I, Wright State is required to have at least seven sports for men and seven for women, or eight for men and six for women. Wright State says it has been in contact with the NCAA and is pursuing a waiver to stay in compliance.
Wright State acknowledges its athletic participation has not been proportionate to full-time undergraduate enrollment (pursuant to Title IX requirements) since 2012, with a women’s participation rate well above the undergraduate enrollment rate and outside the safe harbor range identified by the Office of Civil Rights.
“These events are devastating in that they impact the lives of both our students and staff in a very negative way and cut deep into the fabric of supporting our students for success,” said Wright State University President Sue Edwards. “These circumstances we find ourselves in are ones that all universities across the country find themselves facing. We are sadly going to have to make more decisions moving forward that will be difficult, but the long-term sustainability of the organization is key. I am personally very disappointed. Our students are the whole reason we are here, and our employees are the fabric of our institution, and this is truly painful to our Wright State family.”
For students wanting to stay at Wright State, scholarships will be honored. Additionally, Wright State will honor scholarships for incoming signees.
We are tracking all Division I cuts during the pandemic below.