LMU cutting 6 sports after 2023-24 season

Loyola Marymount University has announced it's cutting six of its sports programs at the end of the 2023-24 season in order to "adapt to the quickly changing NCAA landscape," including new rules on name, image and likeness, transfers and more.

The university made the announcement back on Jan. 23 that the men's cross country, men's rowing, men's track and field, women's rowing, women's swimming and women's track and field programs would be discontinued after this season. The cuts will impact 115 student-athletes, five full-time coaches and two part-time coaches, according to the university website. After the cuts, the university will sponsor 14 athletic programs, the minimum requirement for the West Coast Conference, of which LMU is a part.

The women's swimming team had a home meet on Saturday, likely their final one. Student-athletes from other programs packed the stands to show their solidarity. 

Alena Sharp is one of the more than 100 student-athletes whose programs are being eliminated.

"Swimming has been a part of my life for 16 years now and coming to this program, I really felt like I found, my family until the end," she said. "I was utterly crushed by the news, so disrespectful for the amount of effort we put in to both uphold the sport's image and also participate get good grades."

The university said the decision to get rid of the six programs is an effort to "concentrate its resources on remaining programs." LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens said the six programs were chosen after a review of all of the university's sports, and that the final decision came "after carefully considering various internal and external factors, including the transformational changes impacting college athletics nationally, from the advent of name, image, and likeness, to changing transfer rules to pending rulings on student-athletes as employees, among others."

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Pintens said that the university would honor financial aid for athletes in the affected programs who decide to stay at LMU, and would also help athletes who decide to transfer. But senior cross country runner Avery Doan said she's concerned about the choice younger students have ahead of them.

"Being forced to pick between your education and your sport. When, to our knowledge, we signed on to get both of those things is an unimaginable choice," Doan said.

For Diana Hogenboom and her daughter, junior swimmer Nataly Hogenboom, "Our ultimate goal is reinstating the program. I mean, we're not going down without a fight for that. We would like the opportunity to find out what it would take to save these teams, not just swimming, all six."

A change.org petition seeking to have those sports programs reinstated has over 3,500 signatures as of Saturday evening.