UC Riverside will wait one year before dropping its men’s tennis team instead of shifting its money this fall to a coed intercollegiate sand volleyball team, the school’s athletics director announced today.
Two weeks ago, Brian Wickstrom proposed UCR drop the men’s tennis team to properly fund sand volleyball, and redirect some tennis funding to other sports.
But that was dropped after concerns were raised that senior men’s tennis players should be allowed to finish their collegiate careers at UCR, Wickstrom said.
“We are student-centered in our decision-making here,” Wickstrom said. “It was important for any programmatic change — being driven by both opportunity and budget constraints — to have minimal impact on our Highlanders.”
The athletic director said the university would continue to evaluate the long-term future of men’s tennis at UCR, and seek ways to sustain the program through an endowment or some other means.
“But if that is not forthcoming, then we will plan to discontinue men’s tennis in 2013-14,” he said.
UC Riverside is in NCAA Division I and a member of the Big West Conference. It currently sponsors 17 sports.
The men’s tennis team this year won six of 24 matches overall this year and was winless in five Big West matches. Coach York Strother resigned at the end of the season.
The search for an interim head coach for the men’s tennis team is ongoing, with an appointment anticipated in the coming weeks, Wickstrom said.