2017 Fresno State wrestling pic via Flickr user John Sachs. Creative Commons license creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
Written by Edward Smith
In response to a decline in revenue, Fresno State has culled three sports to balance the budget for the athletic department.
Fresno State announced they would be would no longer have teams for women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis and men’s wrestling.
The move was made in response to a $2 million budget shortfall, said Terry Tumey, athletic director for Fresno State. This year along, loss of ticket sales, multimedia rights and other factors due in no small part to Covid-19 has created a $12 million loss.
“This is an incredibly difficult day for our entire Bulldog community,” said Tumey in a Zoom interview.
The cuts will affect 70 students. The Fresno State wrestling team competed in its first match in 2017 after being cut in 2006.
The sports were cut in compliance with National Collegiate Athletic Association rules regarding Title IX. The NCAA requires that universities maintain at least 16 sports, according to Joseph Castro, president of Fresno State. The loss of the sports takes Fresno State down to 18 sports.
“We are expressing our sadness about this difficult decision we made today — difficult but necessary to maintain the viability of our program,” said Castro.
The move saves about $2.5 million and Castro said this is an important step to created a balanced budget for the department. The athletic department has operated with negative revenue for several years.
Fresno State sent wrestlers to championships in 2019 and the tennis program won championships at the Mountain West championship.
The campus is facing a $13.6 million shortfall, according to Debbie Astone, chief financial officer for Fresno State. The university recently announced it was laying off 20 staff members.
The decision to cancel sports was made to give students time to plan, said Tumey. They would assist students throughout the process even if it means transferring.
“This is a day we are truly reflective,” said Tumey. “We will see how we can get through this for the better of our athletic department.”