The University of Connecticut is located in Storrs. It’s commonly referred to as UConn, and its sports teams are nicknamed the Huskies. Most of UConn’s athletic programs are preparing to leave the American Athletic Conference.Most of these programs are set to join the new version of the Big East Conference. Two of its women’s sports programs already joined the conference in 2017. But some of the programs won’t be making the move.Four sports being eliminatedThe university is cutting four sports from its official athletics department. University President Thomas Katsouleas announced it to the school’s board of trustees recently.
And the four have been chosen.Three come from the men’s programs and one from the women’s side. For the men, cross country, swimming and diving and Tennis are going away. And for the women, the rowing program is being cut.UConn’s athletics department has been in trouble for some time. It’s under a mandate to undergo significant budget slashing. Something that these specific program eliminations are expected to go towards. Several scholarships have also been targeted.Not surprisingly, emotions have run high over the decision. Some programs that may have been aware they were vulnerable could have rallied financial support to save them. Alumni groups for UConn’s track and field and men’s golf teams pledge major funds.
But ESPN indicates the women’s rowing team didn’t know it was vulnerable until the day before it was cut.The University of Connecticut is not alone in making drastic cuts in athletics. Other higher education institutions have made similar moves elsewhere in America. In some cases, it’s been accelerated by the COVID-19 outbreak.Football could be nextThe UConn Huskies might end up losing more than four programs. And the cuts could get pretty big. The Connecticut Post suggests that the football programs might not even be safe. Football has been dealing with transformations about safety and otherwise. But it’s still the biggest sport around for colleges and universities.
In the early 21st Century, UConn football was looking good. It won two Big East Conference Championships. At the time, the Big East was considered a ‘power conference’ in football. The Huskies also earned an invitation to a major bowl game when it was invited to the Fiesta Bowl.That game ended in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma Sooners. Things have gotten worse since then for UConn, who hasn’t made it to any bowl game since 2015. In the last four seasons, they’ve won a total of nine games. Attendance has dropped dramatically.The former Big East Conference also now no longer exists. After some time in the AAC, the football team is about to go independent. Something that probably won’t help matters much if at all.
Whatever the future of the football program may be, UConn’s basketball teams can probably rest easy. The women’s and men’s teams have a combined 20 national championships. They are making it one of the most storied basketball schools in the country. UConn also claims national championships in field hockey and men’s soccer.
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