Athletics cuts 5 Student Life Sports


FILE PHOTO: Student Laurent Goyette-Demers practices in the field house. Photo by Jonathan Garrison

Billy Woods, Reporter

Lindenwood University cut funding in early May to five Student Life Sports and reclassified them as club sports.

The sports affected include: men’s and women’s water polo, Olympic weightlifting, billiards and chess.

Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Brad Wachler said cuts in funding was not the result of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is part of a reorganization plan that best positions Lindenwood University and our athletics department for a successful and sustainable future,” Wachler wrote in an email.

Student-athletes of the five sports will still be able to maintain their financial aid package and compete under the Lindenwood University name, given they remain enrolled. Similarly to other club sports programs, those teams will be responsible for funding the cost of travel to and from games and any competition or uniform fees.

Despite athletics consistently defunding Student Life Sports for the past couple of years — including Table Tennis, Synchronized Swimming and Synchronized Ice Skating — Wachler said there are no future plans to eliminate all Student Life Sports.

When news of the sports programs being reclassified became official, athletes and coaches were troubled, but Mark Wilson was thankful for the terrific experience of coaching the billiards team.

“My hope is that the team core values, academic achievements and training methods will stay intact and continue the legacy of what is the preeminent billiards program at the collegiate level,” Wilson said.

The water polo program broke the news on Instagram and posted portraits of both the men’s and women’s teams.

“It is just simply not fair… Thank you for everyone’s support through the years. We are proud to have one, two, or even more rings. We earned it,” the caption read.

The men’s team won five National Championship titles in the last six years.