BOONE — In response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to position App State Athletics for future success, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced May 26 that the department is reducing its operating budget and discontinuing the varsity sports of men’s soccer, men’s tennis and men’s indoor track & field.

Effective immediately, the three sports are being discontinued following a detailed review of the university’s sport offerings and the longterm budget implications of supporting the current number of student-athletes. The decision was supported Tuesday by Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees.

“This is a very difficult day for the entire App Family,” Gillin said in a statement. “Our mission is to guide and support our student-athletes in their quest for excellence academically, athletically and socially. After careful and thoughtful review, we determined that we could no longer sustain 20 program offerings in a fiscally responsible manner. Since the move to FBS, App State has sponsored the most sports in the Sun Belt and among the most in the Group of Five. This will bring us in line with most of our peer institutions.

“We appreciate everyone who has supported these Mountaineer programs over the years, including current and former coaches, current and former student-athletes, their families, donors and fans. Your legacy is important to us.”

Scholarships will be honored for affected student-athletes who wish to return to App State, as well as for incoming signees. The department will provide support to student-athletes who would like to transfer to another institution.

With the change, App State will now sponsor 17 NCAA Division I sports (seven men’s sports and 10 women’s sports). The Mountaineers will continue to compete in men’s cross country and men’s outdoor track & field.

Sport reductions are part of a 20 percent overall reduction to the athletics department’s budget for fiscal year 2021, which equates to an approximate $5 million reduction. In mid-March, the department limited all remaining operating expenses for fiscal year 2020, which ends June 30.

Gillin also announced that current athletics staff openings will not be filled, and the athletics department is exploring additional personnel actions, with guidance from the university.

“We take all these measures with heavy hearts, but with the longterm sustainability of App State Athletics at the forefront,” Gillin said. “The App Family is known for its strength and resilience. This is a pivotal moment for App State Athletics. It is in this moment that we must take responsible action to ensure our athletics department’s ability to fulfill our purpose and mission for years to come.”

Gillin said several scenarios were considered during the 45-day period since the athletic department started to find ways to reduce expenses.

“Days like today, making those decisions is very painful,” Gillin said. “What makes Appalachian so special is our people. A priority at Appalachian is to provide as many opportunities as possible. With the financial situation the way it is, we no longer could stay with 20 sports programs in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Gillin said he would be willing to work with other conferences, such as Conference USA, to schedule non-conference games that did not require air travel.

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(1) comment


So let me get this straight... You're cutting three student programs to save $1million out of $5 million dollars in cuts, but I see nowhere any mention of a reduction in salaries for those top paid in Athletics. Simply reducing the football coach's salary alone down to what a FULL-TIME lecturer makes (~$40k/year), would free up nearly half of that million. ONE person's salary! And if $40k is not enough for you to live on, maybe you and the administration can explain how they expect full-time faculty members to live off of it... This is all such a complete joke. An organization which is entirely incapable of funding itself, and requires ~$25 million dollars in direct subsidies, primarily from student fees, each and every year simply to remain afloat, yet is first going to cut student programs, as opposed to taking pay cuts themselves. I guess I should not be surprised, considering the pox of an administration that is currently running this university. Thieves, each and every one of you. GTFO of Boone!

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