WSU men’s basketball | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University is seeking a waiver from the NCAA to remain in Division I, despite falling under the required amount of sports programs.
WSU had to cut the softball team, and men’s and women’s tennis teams due to budget restructuring. This left WSU with only 11 sports programs, which falls short of the required 14 programs to be a member of Division I.
“NCAA Division I member institutions are required to sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender,” according to a press release from the University on June 3.
The coronavirus pandemic forced WSU to make tough decisions on where exactly to restructure the budget.
“There is no ideal time to make decisions such as eliminating sports…the decision was made to allow the student-athletes as much time as possible to find a new school where they can continue in their sports,” according to the press release.
Next step for WSU
As of now, there has been no further indication whether WSU will or will not be approved to receive the waiver from the NCAA.
“Once the waiver application is submitted and the NCAA has received any follow-up information they might request, Wright State will wait for a decision…Nothing has changed regarding Wright State’s status as a NCAA Division I member,” according to the press release.
Throughout the waiver process, the NCAA will allow WSU to remain in Division I. They will continue to compete in the Horizon League for the 2020-2021 academic year.
“If approved, the waiver would allow Wright State up to two years to operate below the minimum sport sponsorship before they are required to bring the total number of sports back up to compliance,” according to the press release.
The decision to cut the three sports programs affected 39 student-athletes and six coaches. If WSU gets approved for the waiver, they can potentially add back those same three sports.
Impact across the country
The coronavirus pandemic forcing budget restructuring isn’t specific to WSU, it is happening to schools around the country.
“Universities around the country have announced plans to eliminate positions, freeze or reduce athletics personnel salaries, and cut entire athletic programs,” according to the press release.
The fact that other schools have already been approved for the waiver, after facing similar situations, is a positive for WSU.
“A similar waiver was recently approved for Central Michigan University, giving them two years to operate below the minimum before they are required to get back into compliance,” according to the press release.
The student-athletes affected by the cuts can enter the transfer portal and explore other options. WSU will help these student-athletes navigate through this process.
“Members of the athletics compliance staff, academic staff and leadership team are available to discuss scholarship, transfer information, academic advisement and counseling resources,” according to the press release.
WSU will fully comply with the NCAA to attempt to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.