Millersville University recently announced a reduction of three varsity intercollegiate athletic sports in order to strengthen existing teams’ competitive opportunities and ensure a sustainable financial future for the athletics department, according to Dr. Aminta Hawkins Breaux, vice president of student affairs, who oversees the intercollegiate athletics program.

“This direction was made after careful deliberation when trying to concentrate diminishing budget dollars,” she said. “The University cannot sustain 22 intercollegiate teams and be responsive to growing needs that affect all student-athletes.”

The discontinued sports include men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and men’s cross country. Millersville, which fielded the second-highest number of teams in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), will move from 22 to 19 teams.

The decision takes into consideration recommendations made in a 2006 study by the University’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, the 2010 study completed by Oliver & Lindemenn, a nationwide athletic consulting firm, and an internal assessment conducted by the Department of Athletics in the spring of 2011.

The University will realize approximately $200,000 in savings. This will bring funding per sport in line with other PSAC and NCAA Division II athletic programs. Millersville athletics has already taken steps to reduce its operating budget by more than $100,000 over the last two years. Steps include freezing positions, eliminating overnight travel and reducing preseason meals.

In addition to financial impact, the decision also factored each sport’s history of competitive success, moving closer to compliance with Title IX and the principles of gender equity as well as improving Millersville athletics’ competitive standing.

The elimination of sports affects approximately 30 student-athletes. The student-athletes participating in the affected sports who continue their undergraduate education at Millersville University will continue to receive their athletic scholarships for a period equal to their remaining eligibility. The Department of Athletics will grant releases to student-athletes who choose to transfer and compete for another university.

The reduction results in the elimination of one full-time head coaching position.

Coach Andy Young will be retained as the head coach of the women’s cross country and track and field teams.  He had served as the men and women’s cross country head coach and the director of the track and field programs. The men’s outdoor track and field team will compete in the spring of 2012.

Millersville University athletics will continue to serve nearly 400 student-athletes as well as more than 3,000 students in club sports and intramurals.  Students who participated in men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and men’s cross country and are interested in making it a club sport should contact Campus Recreation.

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