Top universities slash varsity athletic teams

Many+NCAA+sports+are+being+slashed+and+transformed+into+club+teams.+

Enzo Carvalho

Many NCAA sports are being slashed and transformed into club teams.

As COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to high school sports, a new problem has emerged for high school students looking to play varsity level sports in college.

Over the past year, several top universities, including Ivy League colleges and Stanford, have been slashing their varsity athletic programs and changing them into club teams. 

While this might seem scary at first, it is essential to know the reasons for eliminating sports and the implications for student-athletes applying to these top universities.

A Sports Illustrated article explains that the spread of the global pandemic is the main reason these universities chose to hack their varsity athletics programs.

Many student-athletes haven’t been able to play, and universities have been dealing with a consequent loss of income. In many cases, there have been no games and no tickets to sell. 

“Sports like golf and track and field are costly to set up, so when there aren’t a lot of people paying to watch the games, there isn’t enough money coming in to fund that sport,” said David Heck, coach of Carlmont’s varsity golf team.

Because of this, some top universities decided to cut their athletics programs. Brown University, for example, removed eleven varsity teams like fencing, golf, and squash. Stanford took the same decision and drew out eleven varsity teams, including volleyball, wrestling, rowing, and others.

For now, it is difficult to predict the consequences for high school student-athletes. The future of the recruiting process could see the most impact. If athletic programs are dismantled, there will likely be fewer recruitment opportunities for student-athletes.

On the other hand, it is still unclear whether this will affect high school coaches in the future.

“So far, the slashing of sports hasn’t changed my job at all. I didn’t even know this was happening until now,” said Matthew Walker, the varsity girls volleyball coach. 

Right now, there hasn’t been much immediate impact on Carlmont student-athletes and coaches. With COVID-19 taking away more and more opportunities for students to get involved, the future for Carlmont student-athletes that have the goal to pursue an athletic journey through college has been blurred.

“We have to get students active again,” said Grant Steunenberg, Carlmont’s administrator who oversees athletics. “But as of right now, we can’t tell where Carlmont sports are headed. The best thing to do is to follow the safety regulations and wait for this whole pandemic thing to pass.”

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