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CMU eliminates men's track and field


Central Michigan University athletes compete in the hurdles on Jan 12. at the Jack Skoog Indoor Track and Field Complex.

Men's indoor and outdoor track and field at Central Michigan has been eliminated as part of universitywide cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a release on Tuesday, the discontinuation of the program — which is effective immediately — impacts 36 student-athletes. Two full-time assistant positions have also been eliminated. 

CMU is the first Division I program in Michigan to cut an athletic program. 

Associate Athletic Director of Sport Administration and Communications Rob Wyman said the immediate savings to CMU is over $300,000 while long-term savings are $628,798. 

“We did not make this decision lightly, but we are facing a new financial reality due to enrollment challenges and now COVID-19,” said CMU Athletic Director Michael Alford. “Hundreds of students have participated in this longstanding, successful program at Central Michigan, and we know this will impact them — and supporters of this program — greatly.”

Scholarships for the athletes, including incoming freshmen, will be honored for their entire academic career at CMU.

However, the athletes may transfer to another school immediately and without penalty. 

“My heart goes out to these student-athletes; I know this is incredibly difficult for them,” Alford said. “We hope they continue their academic journeys at Central Michigan, but also wish them the best if they’re able to continue athletic pursuits elsewhere.”

Earlier this month, Alford, along with football coach Jim McElwain, men's basketball coach Keno Davis and women's basketball coach Heather Oesterle, each took pay cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The decision leaves CMU with 16 athletic teams: Men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s soccer, women’s golf, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, women’s track and field, gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, softball, volleyball and wrestling.

In order to remain compliant with the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, a school must participate in at least six men's sports and eight women's sports. 

As it stands, CMU competes in five men's sports: football, baseball, basketball, cross country and wrestling.