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Four ECU sports programs casualties of COVID-19



Javier Renones from Santander, Spain, is one of 68 student athletes affected by program cuts at East Carolina University. (Photo courtesy ECU Athletics)

East Carolina University has cut four athletic programs due to the effects of COVID-19.

Programs cut are men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s tennis.  The University’s Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson announced the decision Thursday, May 21.

“Today’s decision came after a deliberate review and in-depth analysis of the athletics department’s budgets and programs,” Mitchelson said in a statement. “The current athletics budget was not sustainable pre-COVID-19 and the university was working closely with athletics to decrease the annual deficit over the next year. With the pandemic, the deficit began to grow significantly where the impact was immediate and will affect future revenue and expenses for years to come. Ultimately, the reduction of sports aligns ECU with our American Athletic Conference peers and provides a road map to a more sustainable future for the University and athletics.”

There were 49 total student-athletes between the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams this past season, 23 of whom are from outside the United States. The men’s team captured its fourth AAC championship in swimming this past season.

The women’s tennis team accounted for eight full scholarships. The men’s tennis team used four and a half scholarships. Seven of the eight players from the men’s team were international student athletes. Seven of the 10 women’s tennis players were also international.

The cuts affect a total of nine coaches and 68 student athletes.

The NCAA suspended all sports in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Florida Tech eliminated their entire football program due to the effects of pandemic.

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