ST. CLOUD, Minn. — St. Cloud State University is shuttering its football and men's and women's golf programs, the school announced Tuesday.
In a news release, the University said the changes were being made "to ensure Title IX compliance, and to address the financial sustainability and success of the university and its teams."
According to the release, the changes will affect about 115 student athletes, as well as seven coaches and two graduate assistants.
As part of the overhaul, the university will add men's soccer, in order to comply with NCAA sport sponsorship legislation. The release notes the sport's increase in popularity, as well as its lower staffing, scholarship, and operational costs.
SCSU will have 17 athletic programs in NCAA Division I and II after the changes, with six men's sports and 11 women's sports at the beginning of the 2020 academic year.
“We made this extremely difficult decision because St. Cloud State faces a convergence of circumstances that required us to change our athletics offerings,” St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker said in a prepared statement. “This will have a profound impact on our committed student-athletes, our dedicated coaches, and the passionate alumni and supporters who have followed our programs throughout their proud histories. Our student-athletes and coaches approach every day with incredible devotion and desire to be their best and represent St. Cloud State in the classroom, on the field, and in our community. We are grateful for their commitment and will assist them as they move forward.”
According to the news release, St. Cloud State has been faced with "a growing athletics deficit of more than $1.6 million over the past 4 years."
“As someone who believes in the athletics experience and its positive impact on student-athletes and has watched and valued our players and alumni throughout my tenure at St. Cloud State, this decision weighs heavily on me,” SCSU athletic director Heather Weems said in a statement. “I believe this decision provides the best pathway for Huskies Athletics and a future that sustains a healthy and competitive overall athletics program.”
This is the second round of athletic cuts at SCSU in the past four years. In 2016, the University dropped men's and women's tennis, women's Nordic skiing, men's indoor and outdoor track and field, and men's cross country, citing budget concerns and a changing mission in the athletic department.
FROM 2016: SCSU students fight sports program cuts
SCSU previously considered eliminating the football program in 2010 amid budget shortfalls.
In the just completed season, the Huskies football team played in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, finishing 2019 ranked fifth in the NSIC North division standings with a 4-7 overall record.
Also on Tuesday, the University of Minnesota Crookston announced that it would eliminate its football program in 2020 as well, citing funding concerns. Like SCSU, the UMN Crookston Golden Eagles played in the NSIC, and failed to win any games in the 2019 season, finishing with a 0-11 record.
UMN Crookston said it would honor scholarships for any student-athlete who decides to continue their education at the school.