YPSILANTI, Mich. – The decision to cut four sports at Eastern Michigan University was final and will not be revisited, according to a statement released by the school Thursday, but student-athletes are continuing to fight to save the programs.
The university announced March 20 that the wrestling, women's softball, men's swimming and diving and women's tennis teams would be cut as part of EMU's effort to restructure its overall budget.
The swim and dive team started a GoFundMe account to raise money to save the program; however, the school will not be taking any further action on the matter, despite rumors that action would be taken at a Board of Regents meeting Friday morning.
Members of the swim team plan to keep fighting.
"We're not giving up. We have no reason to. We've fought, we've raced, we've bled for this university," alumnus Kevin Doak said.
Students are holding a “Save Our Student Sports” rally Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. at Welch Hall on the EMU campus.
Team members said they will reimburse any GoFundMe donors if the decision is, in fact, permanent.
The university noted that it would honor scholarships of student-athletes who will be affected by the cuts and will support those student-athletes who decide to transfer.
Read a full statement from the university below:
The University’s decision to eliminate the four sports was announced on March 20. It is not being revisited and was a final decision at that time.
Unfortunately, some people are being misinformed to believe that there will be action at tomorrow’s Board of Regents meeting regarding this matter. This is not the case. The Board agenda is posted publicly before each meeting, and there is no such action planned for the meeting.
It’s important to reiterate that the reduction of sports was a painful process, in which a central consideration was the future of the affected student athletes.
To that end, the University is honoring the scholarships of any of the affected student-athletes who wish to remain at Eastern until they graduate, which we hope they will. For those students who want to continue their sport at another university, we have committed to supporting them in the transfer process.
The reduction in the number of sports programs is consistent with an overall University budget realignment to continue our focus on high-demand and high growth academic programs that meet the needs of our students and Michigan employers.
Previously, Eastern Michigan offered 21 sports programs, which is more than any other school in the Mid-American Conference. The move to reduce sports aligns the University with its peers at a time when resources have to be precisely and appropriately targeted. It’s important to note that only two other universities in the MAC have swimming programs.
These actions are not unlike others happening at universities around the country. For example, just one year ago, the University of Buffalo, a member of the MAC, announced the elimination of four sports.