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Student-Athletes React to Program Cuts

Student-Athletes React to Program CutsTennis 1

By Cody Parker, Sports Editor

Dick  Christy, the director of athletics, sat down with the men’s golf and women’s tennis teams on March 18 and told them their programs were being cut.

“I was in complete shock,” Morgan Sheehan said.

Tennis 2

Sheehan is a sophomore on the tennis team.

The announcement came at a bad time as many schools have already or are close to signing their recruits for the year.

The players only have a few weeks to try and find somewhere to transfer, if that is their wish.

The tennis teams will finish out their remaining schedule.

Mens Golf

This puts additional pressure on them as they are trying to decide what to do going forward while still being busy with practices and matches during that time.

Last semester, the tennis team had the highest GPA of all the athletic programs.

The school will uphold their scholarships as though they were still playing, but will also allow the student-athletes to seek a transfer.

For the younger members on the team, this decision puts an end to what they hoped their athletic career’s would be at UNCP.

“When you sign to play a sport at a school, you go there because you like the school and that’s where you want to start and end your career and for us that’s not going to happen,” Sheehan said.       

The cuts are being made because of depleting funds for the athletic department. They had been operating in a deficit, and had even begun dipping into reserve funds.

There are three seniors on the team: Shelby Bickel, Monica Espitia and Leigh-Anne McAfee. They have at least been able to complete their four years of play at UNCP, which their teammates will not.

“At least I get to say I played four years at UNCP and don’t have to completely re-evaluate my life and potentially switch states, maybe even go home,” Bickel said.

Although they have gotten to play their full four years, the seniors are upset that part of their legacies will be that in their final year the program was cut.

Similar to the women’s tennis team, the men’s golf team was shocked when they heard the announcement.

“We felt as though we were let down because each one of us committed ourselves to this university,” Hunter McCombs said.

Everyone on the team was shocked, but some on the team showed some emotion after the announcement as well.

“Some of the guys on the team showed some anger but others were quiet about it and understanding of the situation,” McCombs said.

He said that some of the team is committed to staying focused through the rest of the season but others aren’t as committed to going to team functions now.

“We want to do what’s best for ourselves without disrespecting coach (David) Synan,” McCombs said

Bottom Photo, photo courtesy of UNCP Sports Information. The men’s golf team could possibly play its last tournament on April 17-19 at the PBC championship. Middle photo, photo courtesy of UNCP Sports Information. Morgan Sheehan, sophomore, plays in a match earlier this season. The team’s last match is scheduled for  April 15. Top photo, photo courtesy of UNCP Sports Information. Sophomore Gabriela van Ooststroom, sophomore, and Kelsey Vanquaethem, freshman, are both international students.