Budget Woes Force Colleges to Cut Sports

Golf, baseball, and men's track are recurring casualties; Western Washington is forced to cut football.

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The poor economy has meant certain death for athletics at several schools. Some of the casualties over the past month:

At Quinnipiac University, golf, women's volleyball, and men's outdoor track have been eliminated. The cheerleading program has been upgraded to varsity level.

Pepperdine dropped its men's varsity track program this year, and its women's swimming and diving team will be cut next year.

Northern Iowa will drop baseball, saving about $400,000. The cost savings will help eliminate the athletic department's $600,000 deficit, caused by a 9 percent cut in state funding.

The University of Vermont will eliminate softball and baseball after this season. Because of a 6.5 percent cut from the general fund, Vermont's athletic department projects a $1.1 million gap between revenues and expenses next year. Forty-three students will be affected, and six employees will be let go. Existing scholarships will continue to be awarded.

In early January, Western Washington University announced it was dropping its 105-year-old football program. The elimination of the Division II team would save $450,000 and allow the school to maintain less-costly sports programs.

Not all the sporting news is bad: Thanks to student interest, Valparaiso has started golf and women's bowling, and Mesa State College in Colorado is adding men's golf, men's swimming and diving, and women's lacrosse.