St. Cloud State cuts six sports from athletic program

Facing budget shortfalls and declining enrollment, St. Cloud State University will cut six sports from its athletics program at the end of the school year.

The university says it will eliminate men's and women's tennis, women's Nordic skiing, men's cross country, and men's indoor and outdoor track and field. The changes are expected to save $250,000 annually.

Athletics Director Heather Weems said "our support from student fees decreased. The university can't support us at the same level and continue to support increased costs."

St. Cloud State's enrollment fell 17.3 percent from 2011 to 2014.

About 80 student athletes will be affected. Weems told players and coaches about the decision Wednesday morning.

"Obviously for those impacted, they're devastated and we certainly understand for student athletes and their coaches, their identity is very much wrapped in their sport and we're trying to help them," Weems said.

"We've offered to honor their financial aid if they choose to stay at St. Cloud State, even in those programs that are reduced. So, we're trying to do right by them."

She said the changes will align with the athletic department's mission of having nationally competitive programs — which have had increased costs.

The school competes at the NCAA Division II level in all sports but hockey, which is Division I.

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