News of the recent tennis team cut is no secret. The cut has affected 20 athletes, both men and women, and has brought the Pioneers’ intercollegiate programs down to 18.
“The analysis in choosing what program to cut was certainly rooted with some financial analysis, the operational budgets, the facilities that we have on campus and probably things like the competitive nature of the program,” said athletic director Charlie Grimes.
The university has not been the only school suffering from budget cuts. Other local universities such as Walsh University, Ashland University and Kent State University have all had to cut sports programs and majors in the recent year.
“I came into Malone for one main reason, and that was to play tennis,” said sophomore exercise science major Asia Harris. “ I thought I was going to have four years here. I have spent so much time building friendships, not only on the team but outside of it. To have all of that and then randomly be told it is all over is really sad.”
Harris was one of 52 athletes at Malone this fall to be named to the GLIAC fall All-Academic team. She, as well as eight other female tennis players, has been affected by this sudden change.
“Personally, I am not as frustrated or disappointed in Malone as I thought I would be, because I am not on scholarship; I am a walk-on,” said sophomore psychology major Andrew Hill. “My frustration is on behalf of my teammates. A lot of them are here solely for tennis and are international students, so my heart went out to them. I don’t think tennis takes up a lot of money compared to some other programs that I think could have been taken into consideration. It came without warning.”
The news came suddenly to all of the athletes, leaving some scrambling to find a new school at which to play tennis next year.
However, Malone has offered to allow the athletes to keep their scholarships for another year. This will ideally help current juniors to finish their senior year or give the athletes more time to find a new university.
“Our athletes are great and deserve a wonderful experience,” said Grimes. “It’s unfortunate about the tennis team, and we feel bad that Malone cannot give them that experience. But we are here to help them find a site where they can do that.”
Both teams are scheduled to finish out their spring season. The women’s team last game is on March 31 in West Virginia, while the men’s team will continue to play through April 13.
Check out the opinion piece on the recent tennis cuts here.
Erin Perko is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.