The University of Northern Colorado announced Wednesday that it will discontinue the men’s and women’s tennis programs effective July 1.
This decision results in UNC’s number of sponsored intercollegiate athletic programs being reduced to 17 sports. This includes 9 women’s sports and 8 men’s sports.
According to the news release, this decision comes as a part of UNC’s overall cost-saving efforts enacted due to budget shortfalls related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other cost-saving measures include reducing department and sport budgets, regional scheduling and travel efficiencies for all sports, and furloughs. These measures are estimated to save over $500,000 in combined savings.
“This is one of the most excruciating decisions you can be involved in as an athletics director,” Director of Athletics Darren Dunn said in the news release. “There is no right time or easy way to come to this conclusion. Many factors were involved in arriving at this difficult choice, one we had to make for the long-term sustainability of our athletics department. Unfortunately, due to facility and budget limitations, we cannot provide a championship experience for our tennis student-athletes.”
According to the news release, the location and availability of tennis facilities were a factor in UNC’s decision to discontinue the tennis programs. UNC does not have an indoor tennis facility on campus or in close proximity, resulting in UNC’s tennis teams frequently traveling to south Denver for practices and matches.
The university will honor all scholarships of affected student-athletes who choose to continue their education at UNC. Under the NCAA transfer rules, impacted athletes are immediately eligible to compete for another institution. According to the release, UNC will support these students during the transfer process.
“UNC is committed to providing support to our student-athletes and coaching staff who are impacted by this difficult decision and we are working with them to provide assistance, whether it is here at UNC or elsewhere,” said UNC President Andy Feinstein in the news release. “We are grateful for our student-athletes, fans, alumni and donors, who have supported the tennis programs and the lasting legacy it leaves for UNC athletics.”