As New Jersey City University (NJCU) continues efforts to dig out of a financial hole and right-size its budget, the school announced Dec. 7 it will discontinue five sports: men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s cross country.
The school, which entered Fiscal Year 2023 with a more than $20 million budget deficit, says these cuts combined with other cost mitigation efforts will result in a more than 50% budget reduction for the athletic department.
The downsizing, which is effective May 30, 2023, decreases the total number of NJCU’s athletic offerings from 22 programs to 17.
While the cross-country season has already concluded, the golf and tennis programs will compete during the Spring 2023 semester before being phased out.
“These decisions are never easy – particularly when it impacts our students, and in this case, those who have represented the university on the fields of competition,” said Joseph Scott, chair of the NJCU board of trustees, in a statement. “However, as we continue our rightsizing efforts, we simply will not have the resources to support an athletics department at the size it currently exists.”
Scott added that this is a sacrifice that must be accepted as necessary.
“And by doing so, I am confident our remaining 17 athletic programs, student athletes, and staff, will be able to flourish going forward,” said Scott.
Robert Cole, interim director of athletics, said the department is committed to supporting the student-athlete experience of these affected programs through the natural conclusions of their seasons, and will accommodate affected students however needed.
“We will offer support and guidance to those students impacted by this unfortunate transition,” said Cole. “Students wishing to explore transfer opportunities will immediately be granted their full release. Students who wish to finish the balance of their academic career at NJCU will continue to have access to all student-athlete support services, including RKI [Rising Knight Institute] programming, academic support and guidance, and mental-health services.”
The announcement comes amid broader challenges for NJCU, which NJBIZ has extensively chronicled, including a State Comptroller investigation into its finances and that aforementioned budget deficit.
NJCU says it has identified more than $10 million in cost containment strategies, which include these cuts as well as a November reorganization of its Executive Leadership team, continued cost reductions and an evaluation of all components of its operations.
Since the pandemic, the management-level workforce at NJCU has been reduced by 41%.
The university believes that the discontinuation of these programs is another step toward its goal of achieving budget neutrality by June 30, 2023.