Loyola Marymount University cuts 6 athletics programs, cites NIL and changing NCAA rules

LOS ANGELES — Loyola Marymount University is cutting six sports programs at the end of the 2023-24 season — and student athletes are reacting to the announcement.

The university said in an announcement released Wednesday that the decision to cut the programs was in response to the changing landscape of the NCAA and would allow the school to distribute funds to other athletic programs.

LMU participates in 20 intercollegiate sports in the West Coast Conference and has about 400 student athletes.

The six sports that will be discontinued are:

— Men’s cross-country

— Men’s rowing

— Men’s track and field

— Women’s rowing

— Women’s swimming

— Women’s track and field

Many of the student athletes at LMU said they were surprised and upset with the decision to cut sports programs.

“It came out of left field, particularly since our teams have produced multiple All-Americans and professionals,” Avery Doan, who is part of the women’s cross-country team, told KTLA.

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“The wording and the answers that we’ve gotten from the athletic department have been relatively vague — and the meeting where we found out about this news, I left unsatisfied with the answers they were giving us.”

Emily Valmas, a member of the rowing team, told KTLA she was shocked by the announcement.

“At that moment you’re told, people who have devoted their lives to their sports for years and years and don’t know a life out of it — that is being taken away from them,” Valmas said.

LMU said its decision was reached in part by the new name, image and likeness rules and transfer portal rules implemented by the NCAA.

“Our mission is to support our students in their pursuit of the highest level of success athletically, academically, and culturally,” said Craig Pintens, LMU Athletic Director. “This decision, while difficult, best positions our department and remaining Division I sports for success.”

The university said it will honor affected students’ athletic scholarships and financial aid. In addition, the school will offer club competition options and help student athletes who decide to transfer to another school.

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