News & Politics

George Washington University Cuts 7 Athletic Programs, Citing Pandemic

Men's tennis and indoor track are among the programs it will cut to help manage a $200 million shortfall.

Photograph via iStock.

George Washington University plans to eliminate seven of its 27 athletic teams at the end of their upcoming seasons, university President Thomas J. LeBlanc and other officials told the university community in an email Friday.

The NCAA sports of men’s indoor track and tennis and women’s water polo will be cut at the end of their upcoming seasons, the email says, and the non-NCAA sports of men’s rowing and sailing and men’s and women’s squash will also end at the conclusion of their upcoming seasons, should they be able to compete.

A review of athletic programs identified a shortfall between expenses and expected revenue of $200 million according to the memo, which attributes the deficit to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. GW announced Monday that its undergraduate courses would be held largely online during the fall semester and that it would offer a 10 percent discount to students who live off-campus.

The university says it will “support these programs in their transition to club sports” and that it will pay any already awarded scholarship aid for students in these programs through graduation. “We hope that our students continue their education at GW,” the memo reads. “However, should any student-athletes from the affected teams choose to transfer to another institution, we will support them in every way possible.” The school will also offer mental health resources and other counseling throughout the year.

The university says that while it doesn’t expect to take any further action to keep GW Athletics financially sustainable, more tough decisions “could be necessary if the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial impact worsen.”

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

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