Men’s and women’s tennis to compete next year amid budget impasse
Two SIU athletic teams are off the budget chopping block.
Both men’s and women’s tennis will compete in the 2016-17 academic year after speculation that the two teams would be cut because of the state’s historic budget crisis.
Director of Athletics Tommy Bell said the teams will be around for at least the next year, and the intent is to keep them operating permanently, which men’s tennis coach Dann Nelson confirmed.
“It’s a great relief, obviously,” Nelson said. “We just want to thank all of our alumni who helped us and our athletic department who has represented us all so well.”
Following the news, the women’s tennis team lost in the Missouri Valley Conference finals to No. 26 Wichita State 4-0, and the men’s team lost in the MVC semifinals to Drake 4-0.
The women’s tennis team has finished in the top four of the conference the previous five years while the men’s team finished 2-1 in MVC play this season after finishing 0-3 in the conference last season.
On March 9, SIU President Randy Dunn listed men’s and women’s tennis as potential cuts in response to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.
After her final home match of the season April 23, sophomore women’s player Athena Chrysenthou said her team had not been told any update on the status of the situation.
“I’m sure just like every other program that was listed on that report, we were all nervous,” Nelson said.
April 25, the governor signed a bill that allowed him to provide $600 million for public higher education and low-income student grant aid, approximately $58 million of which to go to SIU.
Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.