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University of Minnesota cuts 3 men’s sports programs

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota is cutting three of its men’s sports programs — gymnastics, tennis and indoor track — partly due to budget deficit made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of Regents made the decision on Friday, but opted to keep the men’s outdoor track program, which was also threatened, the Star Tribune reported.

Athletic director Mark Coyle announced Sept. 10 that the department would drop the sports for budgetary reasons, and to address Title IX compliance concerns. That budget deficit was projected Friday to be between $45 to $65 million.

Cutting all four programs would have saved $2.7 million per year, but Coyle said retaining outdoor track will reduce that amount to $1.6 million.

Coyle said eliminating the three men’s programs would impact 34 male athletes. He anticipated the university also will have 31 fewer female athletes next season. Coyle wants the student-athlete population to reflect the student body, which was 54% female and 46% male during the last academic year.