OBU cutting several athletic programs after 2020-2021 season

By Adam Ewing | shawneestandard@gmail.com

Oklahoma Baptist University announced it will be eliminating several athletic programs after the 2020-2021 academic year the university announced in an open letter Monday.

The programs impacted include men’s golf, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s lacrosse.

According to the letter, “In order to address the long-term financial stability of the university, the Board of Trustees, at its Nov. 6 meeting, approved reductions impacting every area of campus. In line with the university’s overall budget proposal, the OBU Athletics Department has been asked to reduce its annual operating budget by approximately $3 million.”

Teams will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming NCAA championship seasons, should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 permit, before they are discontinued at the varsity level, the open letter states.

In the letter, OBU President Heath Thomas and OBU Director of Athletics Robert Davenport included, “Oklahoma Baptist University is committed to supporting the impacted student-athletes and coaches during this transition. Those student-athletes that choose to remain on Bison Hill will retain all existing scholarships through graduation within the standard four-year window. Furthermore, OBU Athletics will assist any student-athlete wishing to transfer to another institution following the completion of their 2020-21 championship season. All support services, including sports medicine, academic services, nutrition, etc., will continue to be provided without interruption through the end of the spring term. The contracts of affected coaches will be honored through the end of the university’s fiscal year (May 31).”

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