The University of Iowa is getting rid of four sports in light of lost revenue that could reach nine figures because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The school announced Friday that it will discontinue men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The sports will be played this season if Iowa deems it safe.
“We carefully and thoroughly reviewed all financial options and each of our programs individually,” Iowa said in a statement. “We considered, in part, 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, and other factors. With the recent postponement of fall sports and immediate financial impact due to this decision, we believe this path is necessary to strengthen athletics and position our programs for future success with the resources we have.”
The Big Ten canceled all fall sports last week, hoping to play them in the spring. There is increased speculation that football won’t be played at all this academic year, delivering a debilitating financial blow to the school.
Iowa projects lost revenue of approximately $100 million and an overall deficit between $60-$75 million this fiscal year.
Iowa had an operating revenue of $152 million in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2019, USA Today reported last month. The school had a net surplus of $5.7 million with $146.3 million in expenses.
Only 13 schools reported more revenue last year.
Other universities might have to make tough decisions regarding sports similar to the ones Iowa made Friday. Ohio State finished third in the nation last year with over $210 million in revenue, and it won’t play any sports for the rest of 2020.
“Over the past few months, several budget cuts including reductions in compensation, operations and position eliminations have been, and continue to be, implemented,” the University of Iowa’s statement continued. “While the impact of these savings reduces our expenses, a significant deficit remains. We are working to secure financing to cover the shortfall that provides a repayment plan that allows continued success for our remaining sports.”
Iowa has gone from 24 sports to 20.