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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

University of Iowa to cut 4 varsity sports due to coronavirus pandemic

"We are heartbroken for our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Hawkeye athletic director Gary Barta wrote.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa is cutting four varsity sports following the 2020-21 academic year because of ongoing revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Men's gymnastics, men's and women swimming and diving, as well as men's tennis, will all be discontinued.

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld and Director of Athletics Gary Barta issued the following statement on Friday:

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a financial exigency which threatens our continued ability to adequately support 24 intercollegiate athletics programs at the desired championship level. With the Big Ten Conference’s postponement of fall competition on August 11, UI Athletics now projects lost revenue of approximately $100M and an overall deficit between $60-75M this fiscal year. A loss of this magnitude will take years to overcome. We have a plan to recover, but the journey will be challenging.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Iowa gymnast Mitch Mandozzi during an NCAA college gymnastics match, Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

The four sports will be allowed to compete in this upcoming season virus-permitting, and the school said all existing scholarships will be honored through graduation for those who stay at the University of Iowa.

The contracts of affected coaches will be honored, according to a university statement.

"We are heartbroken for our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Barta wrote in a release.

The following were listed as factors in the university's decision:

  • Sponsorship at the NCAA Division I level
  • Impact on gender equity and Title IX compliance
  • Expense savings
  • History of the sport at Iowa
  • Engagement level

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