University of Cincinnati Director of Athletics John Cunningham announced Tuesday that the men’s soccer program has been discontinued. The decision is effective immediately and comes amid the complications of the coronavirus pandemic.
"This was a difficult decision, but one made with the long-term interests of UC Athletics at the forefront," Cunningham said in a statement. "During this time of profound challenges and widespread uncertainty, I have engaged in a comprehensive and thorough review of UC's sport offerings and long-term budget implications of supporting the number of student-athletes currently at UC. Based on this review, and in consultation with President Pinto and other University leaders, UC Athletics will no longer sponsor a men's soccer program.”
Cunningham made mention that the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak played a factor in the decision, making way for one to wonder if similar decisions will be announced about other athletic programs both at UC and universities across the country.
The discontinuation marks the end of a 47-year-old program, and sees its former athletes left without a team. However, the current players will have their scholarships honored for the rest of their time as UC undergraduate students.
"Our men's soccer student-athletes have been outstanding representatives of the University in the classroom and on the field," Cunningham said. "They may not fully understand this decision, but I want them to know they were truly and conscientiously considered during my deliberations about the future of UC Athletics. We are making this decision now to enable our men's soccer student-athletes to have an opportunity to play at another institution if they choose to do so."
Men’s soccer hadn’t had a winning record since 2016 and collected a record of 8-25-2 over the past two years. Head coach Hylton Dayes stepped down from his position after nineteen years in March.
"I am most sincerely grateful to everyone who has supported the men's soccer program at the University of Cincinnati," Cunningham said. "This includes former coaches, former student-athletes, donors and fans. Your legacy at UC will not be forgotten and your accomplishments will continue to be recognized."
The program concludes with an all-time record of 385-408-84, and its final game was a 3-2 overtime loss to the University of Central Florida Nov. 5, 2019.