St. Cloud State University to cut golf programs in 2020

Dave Schwarz/SC Times

St. Cloud State University to cut golf programs in 2020

College

St. Cloud State University to cut golf programs in 2020

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. — St. Cloud State University will end its football and golf programs next year to comply with a Title IX court order and manage budget shortages.

The changes will affect about 115 student athletes, seven coaches and two graduate assistant coaches, according to St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker.

St. Cloud State has eight men and eight women on its golf teams.

Twenty scholarships are dedicated to the football and golf programs. Some of those scholarships are split or shared among more than one athlete.

The school’s golf facilities are “very limited,” Director of Athletics Heather Weems said. And it was tough to get the athletes time on the course during harsh weather.

Those limits compounded with the school’s other considerations, and golf didn’t make the cut.

Men’s soccer will be added to the school’s athletic program to keep the program in compliance with NCAA rules.

St. Cloud State has to comply with the U.S. District Court’s August order in a Title IX lawsuit by balancing the opportunities and benefits it offers for female students in the athletic program.

In addition, the university anticipates a $5.1 million budget deficit for the 2020 academic year. Athletic budgets have struggled under declining student athletic fees tied to declining student enrollment and increasing costs, Wacker said.

“All three of these (factors) have converged and brought us to the table,” Wacker said Monday. “We know this is going to be tough for folks.”

She met with coaches in October to talk about the challenges facing athletics, including the court order, she said.

St. Cloud State released its plan to eliminate football and golf Tuesday afternoon. The program changes start next fall.

Right now the university has 19 teams. That will drop to 17, leaving six men’s teams and 11 women’s teams.

Ending the football and men’s and women’s golf programs will save about $1.2 million. Some of that will go to the new soccer team and other sports, said Weems. Some will go to general university funds.

St. Cloud State’s football program dates back to 1895 but support for football has waned, Wacker said. There were 58 football season ticket holders this fall. In the last three years, the average Huskies football game drew between 1,000 and 1,300 spectators, Weems said.

For more on this story, go to sctimes.com.

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