WSSU ANNOUNCES RESTRUCTURING OF ATHLETICS PROGRAM
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) today announced that it was restructuring its athletics program as part of its strategic plan to be more competitive at a national level.
"We are more aggressively striving to elevate our sports programs to a higher level of regional and national success," said Bill Hayes, athletics director. "We cannot, however, develop and sustain a consistently high caliber program within our current budget. Therefore, we have made the decision to reallocate funds currently supporting three of our athletic teams to provide more financial support for our remaining program."
Effective August 2012, WSSU will eliminate its men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, and men's golf teams. The change will impact one coach and 13 scholarship-supported student-athletes.
"The university will request that the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) provide a waiver to the effected students that would enable them transfer to other conferences without facing any penalties," Hayes said. "In addition to supporting students who want to find a new sports home, we have committed to providing financial support to any of the students who stay with us for the next academic year."
Even with the reduction of the three teams, WSSU athletics will still be above the minimum number of sports required for NCAA Division II and CIAA membership. The elimination of these men's teams will also improve the gender equity of the overall program.
"We have been trying to support 16 sports when the NCAA only requires that we field 10 teams," Hayes explained. "If we want to be a DII national contender, then we need to focus our efforts on getting better at the things we do best."
We believe that we can be successful at a higher level both regionally and nationally if we have fewer teams. Our recent performances have proven that we can compete on a regional basis in women's track and field, women and men's tennis, softball, volleyball and baseball. We also have begun to show that we can compete at the national level in DII football and, with additional resources, we believe we can strengthen that position and also improve our standing in women's and men's basketball as well as in the other sports.
"While this was a difficult decision because it does affect our students and our staff, the vision for Rams athletics continues to be to create and preserve an elite DII athletics program," Hayes continued. "The additional resources that this restructuring will provide can make a difference in our ability to recruit the additional talent we need for our football and basketball teams. We also are focusing on additional fundraising efforts to support our efforts to renovate facilities, upgrade equipment and, most importantly, to see that our student-athletes meet our academic goals as well."