Feb. 20, 2009

Courtesy of Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. - As part of a University-wide budget management plan, the University of Vermont Athletic Department announced today that it will be discontinuing two sports, baseball and softball, at the conclusion of the current season in May. This reorganization will also include the closing of five staff positions. Dr. Robert Corran, UVM Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics made the announcement.

 

Currently, Vermont sponsors 20 sports (11 women's and 9 men's) with rosters totaling 584 student-athletes. This reorganization will reduce the number of varsity sports in 2009-2010 to 18 (10 women's and 8 men's) and will impact 43 student-athletes, 15 in softball and 28 in baseball.

"This was an exceptionally difficult decision to make, knowing the history and tradition of these programs and the impact that it will have on the staff and student-athletes involved. They have always represented UVM and their sports in exemplary fashion and have been positive contributors to the quality of life on our campus. Unfortunately, we are facing significant financial challenges which can only be addressed through a major reorganization of our program," said Corran.

As a result of a 6.5% General Fund cut to the athletic department by the University, projected increases in scholarship and other costs, and a soft economy, the Athletic Department was facing a $1.1 million gap between projected revenues and expenses for 2009-2010. This led to an extensive two month review by the Athletic Department to determine how best to manage this budgetary challenge.

The mission, vision, and strategic goals of the department provided the framework for the review. In addition, four specific objectives were developed through discussion among staff and coaches. These were: 1) to maintain a high quality student and student-athlete experience; 2) to support the academic success, and well-being of the student-athlete; 3) to maintain opportunities for competitive success; and 4) to maximize revenue generation activities.

The current programs were reviewed within the context of NCAA and conference membership requirements, and Hockey East and America East Competitive Standards. Specific review criteria included projected cost-savings, cost per student-athlete, gender equity/Title IX issues and impacts, programs' competitive aspirations, facility issues, and other factors such as weather, scheduling and travel requirements, among others.

"As we worked through various scenarios, it became more and more clear that we could not close the budget gap using across-the-board measures without seriously jeopardizing the quality of all of our programs. As a result, and only after much debate, we turned our focus to vertical cuts in programs. This led us to the decision to discontinue the baseball and softball programs, effective the end of the current academic year," continued Corran.

The baseball and softball programs will continue regular operations including playing their full 2009 non-conference and America East schedules. Student-athletes' status, responsibilities, and access to all department services will not change in any way throughout the season.

By NCAA regulations, all student-athletes affected by the elimination of their sport program can transfer to another school and be immediately eligible for the 2009-2010 season, providing they meet all other NCAA academic eligibility regulations.

The Athletic Department will honor existing scholarship agreements with student-athletes who choose to stay at the University of Vermont. Counseling support and assistance is also available to them.

More background information and a Q&A section about the reorganization can be found at www.UVMathletics.com.