BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — La Salle University announced the elimination of the institution’s baseball, men’s swimming & diving, men’s tennis, men’s water polo, softball, volleyball and women’s tennis programs at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year via An Open Letter to the La Salle and Explorer Athletics Community.
The elimination of the team will move the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC)-East Region to six teams as Bucknell University, Fordham University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, the United States Naval Academy and Wagner College remain active. Overall, the MAWPC will become a 14-team conference as Connecticut College, Gannon University, McKendree University Mercyhurst University, Monmouth College, Mount St. Mary’s University, Salem University and Washington & Jefferson College comprise the West Region.
Overall, the elimination of the seven teams impacts approximately 130 athletes and drops La Salle’s offering to 18 teams with men’s programs in basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field along with women’s programs in basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, swimming & diving, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and water polo remaining following the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year.
La Salle’s decision is based on a review with University leadership, the Board of Trustees and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics analyzing the department’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before reaching a conclusion. Long-term sustainability was the main focus that was woven into all thought processes and analysis done. COVID-19 accelerated the timeline of our decision. However, this was underway prior to the pandemic and the ensuing economic impact that it has caused.
All programs were reviewed based on criteria not limited to but including:
- Title IX compliance
- Net financial impact on the institution
- Competitive history of the program
- Future investment needed in capital/facilities projects
- Lasallian values
- Opportunity for future success at La Salle
- Alumni engagement and potential program brings to La Salle
- Endowment investments required to keep program at, or bring program to, a competitive level of support
The institution notes that is difficult to determine the amount of financial savings the school will experience as savings will be realized as student-athletes come off athletic aid over the next few years and varsity competition concludes at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Wage and operating costs will also add to the savings.
Information courtesy La Salle University