It’s the question everyone seems to be asking: what are college athletics programs going to look like on the other side of this pandemic?
And it’s a fair question. With several schools, FBS and non-FBS alike, already cutting a wide range of sports programs — some in Tribe Nation may be waiting on pins and needles.
However, one thing is for certain: W&M boasts a storied athletics program.
As long as collegiate athletics have been played in the U.S, W&M has been there — seldom cancelling a sport.
However, it has happened before.
Men’s Lacrosse was cut in 1984, in order to balance the budget and help W&M comply with Title IX requirements.
In 1994, W&M cut both the Fencing and Men’s Wrestling teams, in additional cost-cutting measures.
It’s safe to say that, while rare, the precedent of cutting teams during times of great economic stress has been firmly established at W&M.
And with college athletics programs across the country facing massive budget shortfalls, especially if college football isn’t played this season, Athletic Directors everywhere have to make difficult decisions.
W&M’s own neighbors, Old Dominion, have already sacrificed one sport, while others such as App State have sacrificed many.
Back in January of this year, and before the pandemic hit, we predicted that within the next 10 years, W&M would cut a sport or two. Again, this was even before the pandemic.
Here was our reasoning:
“Yes, there are no official plans or announcements for this happening today — but there are always rumors.
And sometimes, just sometimes, rumors are based on actual facts.
Without adequate funding to finally move the men’s and women’s swimming teams out of the Rec Center (yes, the same one students still use), the programs may find themselves in dire need of a financial bail out.
If no one comes to the rescue, one of the most successful sports in W&M history might be left out to dry (no pun intended). Now while we absolutely don’t want this to happen, it’s a serious possibility.
Not only with swimming, but it wouldn’t surprise us if another program, for one reason or another, misses the cut.
While we wouldn’t dare speculate on any of this presently, it’s always something that fans should stay aware of moving forward.”
It’s no secret that W&M’s swimming team needs a new facility.
As mentioned, there’ve been recent budget concerns on a new facility, which has only fueled speculation about a potential cut.
Now, if W&M were considering any sort of sport reduction, W&M Swimming would be at serious risk.
Unfortunately, many “Olympic Sports” have been slashed by schools making cuts in the list above; those too would be the most at-risk for the Tribe.
It’s been said that if Athletic Directors were ever looking to reduce the amount of sports programs they maintain, the pandemic now provides the “cover” they might not have had to make the move in the past.
While we don’t think that’s the case with the current administration, we are also well aware that W&M boasts the most combined men’s and women’s teams/sports in the entire CAA.
It is certainly not outside of the realm of reason for a school such as W&M to plan for all scenarios in these unprecedented times.