Oklahoma Baptist to drop seven varsity sports

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the athletic world. Another university has announced that financial constraints will affect the overall athletic program in the future.

On Monday, Oklahoma Baptist University released an open letter in which the university’s president, Heath Thomas, and director of athletics, Robert Davenport, spoke of the long-term financial stability of the department.

In doing so, the announcement was made of the discontinuation of seven varsity sports: men’s golf, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s lacrosse.

Approximately 130 student-athletes were directly affected by the decision.

The Athletics Department was requested by the Board of Trustees to reduce its annual operating budget by approximately $3 million, according to the letter. A reduction in the number of varsity sports offered seemed to them to be the way to achieve that directive.

In the release, it was clarified that teams will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming NCAA championship seasons, should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 permit, before they are discontinued at the varsity level.

Additionally, the contracts of affected coaches will be honored through the end of the university’s fiscal year.