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What Happens to Athletes When a School Cuts a Sport?

The University of Maryland recently announced that they will cut seven sports teams from competition for the 2012-2013 school year. In the past, we have written about how funding for college sports may have a different impact on your recruiting, but this story goes even deeper to highlight the issues around money behind college sports.

Maryland will cut women’s water polo, swimming and diving, and aerobics and tumbling; and men’s tennis, indoor track, cross country, and swimming and diving. All teams were given a warning back in November that their programs would be on the chopping block if they were not able to raise enough money to keep their teams afloat. Out of the eight teams that were notified, only men’s outdoor track could raise enough money to field a team next season (and they still face challenges to keep the program running beyond next year). The reason Maryland can’t afford to keep these programs competitive is due to a drop off in basketball ticket sales, and a struggling football program.

What Happens When a School Cuts a Program?

When an NCAA Division I or II athlete wants to transfer, they must first obtain written permission from their school’s athletic director before they are allowed to speak with coaches at other schools, regardless of who initiates contact.

When a school plans on cutting a sport, athletes are notified that they can transfer to another college without restriction. They are not required to sit out a year of competition- meaning they are immediately eligible for scholarship money and to compete at a new institution. To make the situation easier for the athletes, athletic departments usually send a notice to compliance offices at other schools to notify them that the sport is being cut and all athletes at their institution are eligible for transfer.

The Benefit of Exploring Multiple Schools During the Recruiting Process

Remember all the times we’ve said that it’s so important to explore multiple schools? Well, this is a great example of a time where that can come back to help you (besides, obviously, when you are initially searching for schools). If you spent a good amount of time building relationships with coaches and exploring multiple opportunities, odds are some of the coaches you spoke with will remember you. This is a great place to start searching for a transfer if your program gets cut. Remember what coaches you spoke to when you were looking for a scholarship in high school, and start by contacting those coaches first. You should also reach out to coaches within your region or conference because they will be likely to know who you are already.

Do you have any questions about why schools cut programs, or what to do if your program is going to be cut? Just leave us a comment in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

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