Alumni and Friends - June 29, 2020
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Alumni and Friends - June 29, 2020

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Dear Alumni,

I would like to follow up with you on one of the actions taken at our Board of Trustees meeting last week regarding the university’s decision to eliminate our tennis teams. Understandably, there have been many questions as to why we chose to end a program with stellar student-athletes and an unparalleled history of conference championships, as well as suggestions on how we could raise funds to reinstate the tennis teams.

The decision to discontinue the teams was not an easy one nor was it done without serious consideration of all of our options.  In short, the decision was based on the need to ensure the long-term financial health of the university.  

In the coming months, all divisions of the university will be reducing operating and personnel budgets as well as recommending eliminations of programs and practices as we build a more sustainable financial model.  While some of these cuts will be a result of reduced finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, other cuts will be centered on a need to refocus our resources in ways that support the current needs of the university as well as looking forward to future needs.

Winthrop Athletics was tasked, as a first step, with permanently cutting $600,000 from its annual operating budget.  After a thorough review of the division that was guided by the goals of maintaining our Division I status and eligibility to compete for Big South championships, to provide a high level of support both on and off of the field that our student-athletes have come to expect, and trends in intercollegiate athletics, the difficult decision to eliminate one sport was made as we realized we could no longer sustain all of the current sports.  We had to balance the costs of supporting 17 tennis players and their coaches against the need to cut $600,000 each year from our athletics budget.   

Over the years, the current and former tennis teams and their coaches have impacted Winthrop in ways few other teams have done. Their legacy will always be a part of Winthrop. We all share in their disappointment and unhappiness.  I am pleased that scholarships will continue to be provided to those players who choose to remain at Winthrop.  For those wishing to enter the transfer portal to search for opportunities at other universities, we will support their efforts.  

At a time when all of us are facing uncertainty, I hope Winthrop can continue to rely on your support and good wishes as we navigate the challenging times ahead of us.

Warm regards,

George

George W. Hynd
Interim President

Last Updated: 6/29/20