Ypsilanti, Michigan has some bad news as it’s university Eastern Michigan (EMU) announced the decision to cut four sports from their program. The announcement was made yesterday, part of the university’s attempt to make up some of their budget deficit.
EMU is trying to make up a budget deficit of about $4.5-$5.5 million, with four sport programs gone that includes 59 terminated positions or layoffs. The cut will also affect an estimated 83 student athletes, both male and female.
Dropping four sport programs will help save EMU an estimated $2.4 million, although not everyone agrees with the sports that were actually cut. The four sports programs that EMU cut include softball, wrestling, men’s swimming/diving and women’s tennis. Many don’t agree with the sports cut, mainly because the programs that were let go were actually successful.
The football program at EMU has been under large scrutiny due to the fact that they have not been as successful as the other programs. Also, cutting the four mentioned sports only saves the university about $2.5 million – whereas the football program costs the university a combined $6.9 million on salaries and scholarships.
Many have suggested that EMU should drop the football program or move down to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in order to decrease costs. A fair argument to say the least, as the EMU football program has had little-to-no success in recent years. Current football head coach Chris Creighton will enter his fourth season with a 15-34 record (.306).
The football program has only made two bowl games in it’s entire existence (1-1), although one of those bowl games was last season after the Eagles finished 7-5. However, they only won three games in the two years prior. The four programs cut is still a bit of a surprise, considering how successful they have been.
The EMU men’s swimming/diving team holds the record for most Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships with 31. The EMU wrestling program has over 20 MAC Championships, their most recent coming three days before the announcement came that they would be cut.
Even more curious is the fact that in early March of 2017, EMU announced they would be making upgrades to the football program’s facilities. It was announced that EMU football would be getting a facility upgrade that includes:
- 70,000 square-feet of space
- 10 box suites facing the stadium
- new scoreboard in the stadium
- new playing turf
- an indoor practice building
So what do you think? Did EMU cut the right sports for their budget deficit? Should EMU be spending money on football upgrades in the middle of a budget deficit? Either way you look at it, the decision was not easy for the university. Student athletes who sports have been cut may still finish their scholarship at EMU, or transfer without the penalty of sitting out a year.