College Sports Get the Boot

College athletics takes a hit from COVID-19.

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Camille Radhakrishnan

Empty fields and stadiums are the new reality for most sports.

2020 will go down in history as the year the world went on pause.

As the coronavirus spread around the globe, everyone felt the impact. Businesses shut their doors to the public, the hustle and bustle of cities turned quiet, and schools sent their students home.

Financial shortfalls are a significant and ongoing consequence of COVID-19. The impacts are evident in unemployment rates, the number of businesses permanently closed, and severe stock market highs and lows.

Another result is the need for academic institutions to make budget cuts.

Investments in safety precautions, online educational platforms, and training for said platforms have put many colleges and universities into a financial deficit. To compensate, schools have found it necessary to cut programs.

Some of these cuts have been to academic departments, such as the sociology and environmental studies majors at the University of Alaska, but many were to athletic teams. Various sports from Divisions I, II, and III have succumbed to financial burdens. 

Investments in safety precautions, online educational platforms, and training for said platforms have put many colleges and universities into a financial deficit. To compensate, schools have found it necessary to cut programs.”

Considerable sacrifices on the Division I side include Stanford University cutting eleven sports (co-ed sailing, field hockey, men’s fencing, men’s rowing, men’s volleyball, men’s wrestling, synchronized sailing, women’s fencing, women’s sailing, women’s squash), Boise State University cutting two (baseball and women’s swimming), the University of Iowa cutting four (men’s tennis, men’s gymnastics, men and women’s swimming), the University of Connecticut cutting five (men’s cross-country, men’s tennis, men’s swimming, women’s rowing), and Dartmouth College cutting seven (coed sailing, equestrian, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse, women’s tennis, men and women’s swimming).

At the Division II level, Tiffin University has cut three sports (equestrian, men and women’s swimming), Fayetteville State University has cut one (women’s tennis), and Sonoma State University has cut three (women’s water polo, men and women’s tennis).

A majority of Division III schools have suspended their athletic competitions as opposed to cutting the programs altogether. 

Alumni and current athletes at many colleges and universities have created petitions to save their sports. These movements include Dartmouth College swimming and diving, Stanford University field hockey, Boise State University baseball, and the University of Iowa swimming and diving.