Budget casualty: Rutgers forced to cut six sports

Rutgers will eliminate six intercollegiate sports at the end of
the 2006-07 school year as part of university-wide cost-cutting
resulting from a projected $80.4 million budget shortfall, the
university said Friday.

Five of the six sports to be phased out are men's programs:
heavyweight crew, lightweight crew, fencing, swimming and diving,
and tennis. Women's fencing also will be eliminated.

"This action was an extremely difficult and painful one to
make," athletic director Robert E. Mulcahy said. "Any time you're
put in a position of denying opportunities for students, it's a
heartbreaking situation. Every student-athlete in our program is a
valuable member of our athletic and university community."

Mulcahy said that eliminating the six sports will save $2
million from the athletic department's budget, which was $35.5
million this past year.

There are 153 athletes in the six affected programs, including
23 who are receiving some sort of financial aid, said John Wooding,
assistant athletic director for athletic communications.

The university said all scholarship commitments will be honored.
The six sports are expected to be offered as part of the
university's club sports program.

While it considered eliminating the six sports immediately,
Mulcahy said doing that would have been unfair to the

Rutgers' Board of Governors approved a university budget Friday
that included $52.4 million in spending cuts to programs, staff and
services that will affect virtually all academic and administrative
operations. The recently adopted state budget significantly reduced
funding for higher education and left the school with an
unprecedented shortfall of $80.4 million.

The loss of six sports will leave Rutgers with 24 varsity
sports, which ties it with Connecticut for the most of any program
that competes in Division I-A football in the Big East Conference.
There will be 14 intercollegiate sports for women and 10 for men.

The sports for men are football, basketball, baseball, soccer,
cross country, lacrosse, golf, wrestling and two track and field
programs, indoor and outdoor.

The women's sports are basketball, soccer, field hockey,
swimming and diving, cross country, softball, lacrosse, crew,
volleyball, golf, tennis, gymnastics and the two track and fields.

Mulcahy said that Rutgers' commitment to follow Title IX
guidelines forced it to eliminate more men's programs. The current
female-to-male ratio at the university is 51 to 49 percent, Mulcahy
said, adding that the opportunities for women in sports must be
within 2 percent of that ratio to comply with Title IX.

"That means almost all the cuts have to be in men's programs,"
Mulcahy said.