September 29, 2020 –
The La Salle University Board of Trustees announced today that it has approved a recommendation to reduce the number of intercollegiate teams to eighteen at the conclusion of the academic year. The public announcement was made in an open letter to the University community.
Stated in the letter.
“This action, while difficult, is necessary to ensure a stronger, more-sustainable athletics program and allows us to reinvest in our existing athletics teams. It is a critically important step towards building and strengthening a winning culture and transformational experience for our student athletes.”
The seven teams to be eliminated affect four men’s teams and three women’s programs. Those sports are; men’s baseball, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, men’s water polo, softball, volleyball, and women’s tennis. Those squads will compete this season. La Salle competed in 25 intercollegiate sports, and that will be reduced.
In the letter the school explained that the current number of intercollegiate teams was not sustainable in the future due to rising costs and the financial challenges in front of the athletic department. The impact of COVID-19 also brought the need to analyze the financial situation. The elimination of the sports will allow for a strategic effort to reinvest resources into the overall athletic program. The letter said that the department was underfunded and the facilities and support staff were spread thin under the current environment.
With the savings La Salle will look to enhance student-athlete support areas, reallocate athletic scholarship funds to women’s programs to better equip them for regional and national competition, and?invest in other underfunded Olympic sport programs.
The study said to continue with 25 sports would require a commitment of $100 million in endowment, scholarship aid and capital investment in order to remain competitive.
La Salle competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference. When the analysis, led by the Department of Athletics, did a comparison of other league members and peer groups nationally. The results were that “the existing sports offering structure at La Salle is not a sustainable model for success.” The school sponsors more intercollegiate sports than most. The NCAA average is 18 teams. The conference average is 19 teams. The Explorers sponsored the most, but is in the bottom quartile in enrollment.
There are 130 athletes affected by this decision. La Salle will honor existing athletic-scholarship aid through graduation.
Written By: Glenn Papazian