Sports Teams Being Cut

Ariane Skeggs, Sports Writer

Everyone was hit hard with COVID-19, the world went into shut down. School stopped, work stopped, and so did sports. This affected colleges all over the country causing a lot of schools to cut sports teams. The teams that get cut tend to be smaller groups, that do not bring in a lot of money. This can affect a lot of student athletes, hitting them with a sudden surprise or a worry as they see other teams get cut. Sports that are smaller and do not bring in money begin to worry when they see their sports being cut at schools with football.

Football brings in a ton of funding for all different sports. This allows for many smaller sports, such as swimming, to be funded. NCAA also has a rule in place that creates a balance for all schools that have football in them to keep their women’s and men’s teams overall balanced. It is called Title IX, they do not have to have the same sports for men’s and women’s team, but they have to the same opportunities and equal treatment.

With COVID-19 funding seemed to be a fear. Football games throughout the year, being a large portion of athletics funding at Colleges that have football. This created tough choices to be made and teams to be cut due to lack of funding for them.

Boise State University in Boise Idaho cut both their swim team and their baseball team this year due to COVID.

Due to the late notice in the year many student athletes struggled to find new teams. This led to some finding last minute schools to transfer too, and others just giving up on their sports careers, either for the semester/year or for the rest of their college life.

Lauren Vitort a swimmer at Boise State University got cut this year. “Our team got cut July 1st going into my junior year at Boise State.” Said Vitort.

They were informed of being cut by the “Athletic director emailed us that morning and then later we had a zoom call to discuss our options if we were going to stay or transfer.” Said Vitort, this was a hard decision for every athlete that was involved in not only this team but with every team that goes through this.

When asked what they did to try and keep the teams at Boise State, to make it work and to not lose what the students and coaches had built. “We had a lot of fundraising efforts going on between us and Baseball as we were the two sports that got cut here at Boise State, but our athletic director and my  president of our university refused and said no fundraising would help but we still showed effort and we’re able to raise about $1 million. They stated that this was not enough to maintain our program for years to come so we would not be reinstated.” Said Vitort, this was heart wrenching for the athletes as they had put in all the work that needed to be done but were still denied their sports. With such late notice in the year this really effected the way that every student athlete looked forward into the next semester and year of school.

“I did keep my options open in the transfer portal for a bit and got offers from schools like BYU USC Arizona Auburn and Mizzou, but I love Boise, so I decided to stay and retire.” Said Vitort, she had a hard choice to make. That late in the year it is hard to transfer and find a place to move too. So Vitort saw retirement as her option to staying with her friends and at the school she loved.

The money they raised was not enough to keep the program open or to allow it to even last another year. Boise State had to drop these teams to keep other more important teams, such as football, basketball, and gymnastics that bring in more of a profit then swimming and other smaller sports.

“I was super upset, but my time swimming was coming to an end because I had a shoulder injury and other health issues.” Said Vitort when asked about her own feelings. There was not much further for her to go so she focused in on her career and her life outside of the sport which can be a scary thing for any athlete to come to terms with.

The way an athlete reacts to a situation can be seen as the strength within them. It is difficult to want to transfer let alone be forced too. When teams are cut it is not only a loss of jobs for the coaches, it is the loss of a solid team and the sport a student athlete loves. They either lose the team and school as a whole because they move or they stay and lose teammates and the sport they love. Teams getting cut never have to do with the athletes and rather the schools, but those tuff decisions can affect the way athletes live their lives.