After Stanford University announced it will eliminate eleven of its varsity athletic programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, no other higher education institution issued a similar announcement for several weeks. Now, George Washington University said it will also permanently eliminate seven of its programs due to funding issues.
GWU is a private university located in Washington, D.C. and has several of its sports teams at the NCAA varsity level, meaning they participate at the highest level in collegiate athletics. The university said it will cut its varsity programs in men’s indoor track, men’s tennis, and women’s water polo. The non-varsity programs which were also eliminated were men’s rowing, sailing, and men’s and women’s squash. The university added that the men’s indoor track, men’s tennis and women’s water polo teams could compete in the 2020-2021 season “if it becomes safe to do so” but they will still be eliminated at the end of the season.
The university blamed the pandemic for budget cuts due to the “financial impacts of COVID-19” and the pandemic’s effects were projected to “create a significant gap between expected revenues and expenses of at least $200 million.”
GWU noted that the eliminated programs could continue as club sports, if they prove to be self-sustaining. It also pointed out that all scholarships will be honored through the athletes’ graduations and if athletes chose to transfer, “we will support them in every way possible.”