ST. CLOUD -  St. Cloud State University announced today (Wednesday) the elimination of six athletic programs, reducing the number of sports from 23 down to 17.

The university is cutting men's and women's tennis, women's nordic skiing, men's cross country and men's indoor/outdoor track and field.

SCSU President Earl Potter says up to this point he's avoided cuts to the athletic department in his nine years at the university.

We have 23 athletics sports in the portfolio, the highest number in the Northern Sun Conference. We are stretched too thin, and cannot sustain a quality experience for that number of sports.

Potter says the athletic cuts will help SCSU close a $9 million budget hole in fiscal year 2017.

Criteria in the review process included the history and tradition of the programs, facilities availability and conditions, recent competitive success, investment needs, alumni engagement and financial support, and Title IX compliance.

Athletics Director Heather Weems says it wasn't an easy decision.

In a decision like this most important is that we give them the support. I expect that they will be angry, frustrated that's part of it.

About 80 student athletes will be impacted by the cuts.

It's estimated the elimination of the six programs will save SCSU's athletic department about $250,000, or about five percent.


St. Cloud State University President Earl Potter, photo by's Alex Svejkovsky