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SIUE scales back athletic programs as Illinois budget impasse continues

By Koran Addo, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

SIU-Edwardsville has removed men’s tennis and women’s golf from its athletic program as part of a cost-cutting move tied to lawmakers’ inability to pass a state budget.

The decision came after a seven-month financial analysis concluded that SIUE needed to cut $200,000 from its Department of Athletics budget. The programs will be officially cut from the university on June 30.

It will affect eight women on the golf team and eight men on the tennis team.


“This is one of the most difficult decisions that we have ever made as a department, because it impacts the lives of current student-athletes,” said Brad Hewitt, SIUE’s director of athletics.

The budget crisis, he added, made it unfeasible for the school to continue offering a full slate of athletic programs.

“All student-athletes who wish to stay at SIUE and achieve their degrees will remain on their current financial aid through their senior year,” Hewitt said.

At one point, university officials considered making across the board cuts before ultimately deciding that would “significantly and negatively impact our department culture,” Hewitt said.

“The conclusion is that the reduction of men’s tennis and women’s golf provided the necessary financial relief with the least amount of negative impact on the department,” he said.

Illinois has gone nearly eight months without a budget as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, have each been unable to compromise on a state spending plan. For colleges and universities, it means employees are being turned away from their healthcare providers and students can’t be certain their scholarships will be paid for going forward.

At SIUE, it means cutting its champion women’s golf program and seven-time champion men’s tennis program.

Men’s tennis coach Jason Coomer will continue as senior associate director of athletics. Director of Golf Derrick Brown will continue in his role as men’s golf head coach.


(c) 2016 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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