Athletic programs across the country were facing financial backlash even prior to the coronavirus pandemic. But the deadly virus, which forced shutdowns throughout America, has put the final nail in the coffin for one local program.
The New York Institute of Technology’s athletics program is shutting down for at least two years, the institution revealed.
NYIT, in a release, cited the pandemic as part of the reason for the school’s decision to end its athletic programs.
“We have a rich legacy in competitive sports and are proud of everything our student-athletes have accomplished over the years,” Henry Foley, president of NYIT, said. “We thank everyone involved in our athletics program for their spirit, dedication, and professionalism. For the next two years, unfortunately, we will no longer be competing with our peers in the East Coast Conference (ECC) and NCAA Division II.”
It is unclear what NYIT’s next steps will be as it determines whether or not to reinvest in collegiate sports. However, it is a massive undertaking, financially and personnel wise to do so.
The Bears, up until this decision, participated in Division II baseball, softball, as well as men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, cross country, lacrosse and track and field.
The Old Westbury-based institution will honor athletic scholarships, but student-athletes can transfer to other universities that will continue participating in NCAA sports. While some institutions are postponing fall sports to the spring, others are just cancelling the season to focus on 2021. However, few are making the drastic change that NYIT is.
NYIT did say that it will add more club-based sports teams to enhance the student experience.
However, it is not nearly the same experience as NCAA sports and scholarships cannot be given for the students participating in it.
“The CyBears esports club team, founded in 2017, is an example of team activities that will be developed further,” NYIT said in a statement.
NYIT’s Long Island campus is open for the fall semester. Prior to the announcement that NYIT is shutting down its programs, the school created an outline for student-athletes to safely play during the pandemic. Locker rooms and showers were not to be used until the school could determine it can be used in a socially distanced way.
“Selected athletic directors have been trained in the Johns Hopkins Contact Tracing programs and understand the principles of contact tracing,” the institution’s website says.
Visit www.nyit.edu/files/about/NYIT_Reopening_Plan.pdf to see the campus’ full coronavirus outline.