Photo Credit: Brown University athletic department
Update (Friday, 3:04 p.m. EST): Over 15,000 individuals have signed a petitition to reverse the decision by Brown University to move men's cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field from a NCAA Division I varsity sport to a self-funded club program. You can follow the movement to save Brown's programs here. A GoFundMe has also been created, with a goal of $300K raised.
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Brown University became the fifth NCAA Division I college on Thursday to eliminate a cross country or track and field program in recent months, announcing in a release that it will cut 11 varsity programs in favor of moving them to the club level as it unveiled an "Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative."
That move will include the elimination of men's cross country and men's indoor and outdoor track and field. The remaining sports to move down to the club level include men's and women's fencing, men's and women's golf, women's skiing, men's and women's squash and women's equestrian.
"I'm excited for the many ways the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative will serve our student-athletes for years to come," Director of Brown athletics Jack Hayes said in the release. "We have the opportunity to truly reimagine athletics for our athletes and for our community of supporters. The initiative is part of the drive for excellence in everything we do at Brown."
Brown joins the likes of Florida International (men's indoor track), Akron (men's cross country), Central Michigan (men's indoor and outdoor track) and Appalachian State (men's indoor track and field) as colleges nationwide that are tightening up budgets as athletic departments look to tighten up pursestrings ahead of uncertainty in the fall.
The move for Brown will enact for the 2020-2021 academic year. Factors for the elimination of its programs, Brown's athletic program reported, were based on "data-driven review that assessed such factors as the exisitng strengths of each team; current roster sizes; and the quality of facilities avialable for practice and competition."
Brown wrote that its initiative "is not a measure to reduce budget or an effort to contend with the financial impact of the pandemic."