CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University announced on Thursday, January 26 that two sports will be eliminated and a reduction in scholarships for another sport.
The university will eliminate men's and women's tennis and reduce scholarships in men's swimming and diving.
These measures will take effect on July 1, 2017.
Athletics expects to save about $660,000 annually in scholarship costs, salaries, team budgets, travel and facility rental fees, when all of the cutbacks are fully realized.
The cuts will also reduce Athletic's total scholarship outlay by 16.4, eliminating 4.5 scholarships in men's tennis, 8.0 in women's tennis and 3.9 scholarships in men's swimming and diving. The department will continue to honor all financial aid of all student-athletes affected by the decision until they graduate.
These student-athletes are also permitted by NCAA rules to transfer to another institution without penalty at the end of this school year.
Tommy Bell, director of athletics, said the department currently has a $21 million operating budget. That reflects more than $1 million cuts made last year, achieved by reductions in sport budgets and support staff, and consolidation of positions.
Additional cuts were needed, he said, due to ongoing declines in revenue from student fees, ticket sales as well as budget forecasts indicating reduced future revenue.
The reduction plan was approved by SIU Interim Chancellor Bradley Colwell, System President Randy Dunn and the Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee.
The men's tennis program at SIU began in 1924 under head coach William McAndrew. The program has won 789 matches all-time and 18 conference championships, most recently in 2016.
Men's tennis also won a NCAA Small College national championship in 1964.
The women's tennis program began in 1975 under head coach Judy Auld. Current head coach Audra Anderson is the fourth head coach in program history.
"I've told the kids, even in a tennis match you can only focus on controlling, the things you can control, there are some things you can't control. This is one of those things, we can't go out and [raise] the amount of money we need to save this, its too much," said Anderson. "I mean yeah we are in total devastation... We are going to have to regroup over these next few days. Sometimes you can practice for a match and do all the right things and it just isn't under your control and it just wasn't under our control."
Women's tennis has won 569 matches all-time, including two conference championships. Each team has been recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as an All-Academic Team in eight out of the last 10 years by earning a cumulative team GPA of 3.2 or higher.
You can click here for see below for the entire statement from SIU.