PHOTO BY CHRISTINA HARDMAN, COURTESY
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The Florida Institute of Technology announced June 28 that it would be discontinuing five varsity sports.
The programs affected include men’s rowing and women’s rowing, men’s cross country/distance track, women’s cross country/distance track, and men’s golf.
The University says the move is an effort to “increase competitiveness.”
“This is not a cost-cutting measure but rather a strategic decision to deliberately increase our competitiveness within our Sunshine State Conference,” said Jamie Joss, director of athletics at FIT.
“Currently, with 17 sponsored varsity sports, our resources are simply spread too thin to adequately support each at a competitive level. Our Athletic Department is committed to leading the conference in scholar-athlete academic success while also fielding highly competitive athletic programs that bring pride to the university. This realignment will empower our core 11 conference sports with the increased resources and focus required to better achieve this vision.”
FIT’s women’s rowing program won a silver medal at the 2022 Dad Vail Regatta in the Division II and III varsity four.
The decision will affect 40 athletes including 31 men and nine women. University leadership said that the institution will honor any financial aid provided to the affected athletes through the now-cut sports.
“Our students are always our first priority,” Carvalho said. “We will work closely with them now and in the coming days to answer any questions that they may have and support them through this realignment.”
“The Florida Tech administration and Board of Trustees understand and embrace the important role that quality varsity and club athletic programs play in the college experience of many of our students,” said Travis Proctor, chair of the board.
“We have carefully considered this recommendation and the board voted to approve and support this decision as it is in alignment with the university’s overall objective to devote our finite resources toward strategies that will drive the achievement of excellence. Certainly, we respect that such a transition can be difficult for the directly impacted student-athletes and coaches, and it is in no way a reflection of their individual performances or efforts.
“Moving the identified sports to club programs rather than eliminating them underscores the university’s desire to celebrate the rich history of these sports at Florida Tech while also demonstrating its increased commitment to the importance of club and intramural sports on campus,” Proctor added. “It is my sincere hope that our campus community, alumni and Panthers everywhere will embrace our coaches and student-athletes as we stand up these new programs.”
Athletes within the FIT men’s and women’s programs are currently mobilizing an effort to ask the Board for reconsideration. A petition for such a move had just shy of 1,000 signatures at the time of publication.