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Furman drops baseball, men’s lacrosse amid virus budget cuts

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A university in South Carolina announced that it is shutting down the men’s varsity lacrosse team and the varsity baseball team in response to financial hardships caused by the cornavirus pandemic.

Furman University in Greenville announced the sports cuts Monday along with other budget reductions including salary cuts and staff furloughs, news outlets reported.

“This is a difficult day for Furman athletics,” said athletic director Jason Donnelly. “Our immediate focus is on supporting our student-athletes and coaches impacted by today’s decisions, as well as our alumni and fans who so passionately support our programs. The legacy of Furman baseball and men’s lacrosse will be remembered and celebrated.”

Furman is a private school of about 2,700 students and a member of the Southern Conference.

The school said it’s expecting a decrease in enrollment and has already seen a drop in endowment by more than $100 million.

The school will also reduce the number of athletic scholarships over the next five years, from 200 to 155. The school said savings from the decisions total about $5 million annually.

About 95 student-athletes and six coaches will be affected by the cut. Current players’ scholarship will be honored through the student’s fourth year and staff will help athletes who want to transfer.

The school said there aren’t any plans to reinstate the teams nor would additional donor support help revive the programs.

The university began playing baseball in 1891 and has since won four regular season Southern Conference championships and two SoCon tournament titles, the latest in 2005. The Paladins finished the 2020 baseball season with an 8-9 record.

The Paladins began playing men’s lacrosse in 2014 and the team went 1-6 before the 2020 season ended.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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