EMU Athletics to reduce varsity sports from 21-17

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Four sports programs will be cut to help Eastern Michigan University make budget, according to emich.edu, Eastern's website.

They are saying that they will reduce varsity sports on campus from 21 to 17 and will go into effect at the end of the 2018 spring season.

The sports that will be cut are softball, men's swimming and diving, women's tennis, and wrestling.

These cuts do not impact Eastern's affiliation with the Mid-American Conference (MAC). They will continue to have seven men's sports and 10 women's sports. The NCAA requires Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools to sponsor a minimum of 16 sports and the Mid-American Conference requires member universities to sponsor football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball.

“We are very saddened by having to make this move, which is necessary as we continue to align the University budget with enrollment and state funding trends,” said University President James Smith. “This aligns us with our Mid-American Conference peers in total number of sports, and is part of our ongoing effort to realign resources to ensure that we continue to invest in high-demand high-quality academic programs and world-class facilities.”

The school expects the cuts to reduce expenses by about $2.4 million.

“The student-athletes affected by this are our priority. We will honor all athletics scholarships for the students should they decide to remain at Eastern to complete their degrees, which we hope they will.”

EMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee said "the announcement was made today, in mid-March, in order to allow the student-athletes as much time as possible to find new schools at which they can continue in their sports, if they choose to do so. This also will allow the eight coaches affected time to find new positions."

Further details regarding the decision can be found in the Question and Answer document posted on the University website.