St. Cloud State to cut 6 athletics programs, reduce men's rosters

St. Cloud State University is stripping six athletic programs to address budget concerns, and will have to reduce several men's rosters in the process, the athletics director announced Wednesday.

Athletics director Heather Weems said they’ll eliminate men's and women's tennis, women's nordic skiing, men's cross country and men's indoor/outdoor track and field – cutting the number of athletic programs by 23 to 17. About 80 athletes will be impacted, and changes will be effective at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. The announcement was made at a department meeting on Wednesday morning.

Weems said an extensive roster management program will be implemented to comply with federal Title IX regulations, which requires increases in several woman’s programs and roster reductions in four men’s programs: baseball, football, swimming and diving, and wrestling. The men's and women's hockey teams will be unaffected.

St. Cloud State President Earl H. Potter III said the changes are part of a campus-wide review process to meet reductions required by the university's financial recovery plan. Cuts will save an estimated $250,000 or about five percent of the athletics general fund.

The university will honor current athletics financial aid agreements for up to a total of four years for those who wish to continue at SCSU, and they’ve granted written permission for coaches from other institutions to contact student-athletes about transfer opportunities. Athletics scholarships will be reallocated in various sports, the statement said.