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Gophers criticized for celebrating gymnast's Olympic qualification despite cutting program

It attracted criticism on social media.

The University of Minnesota's Gophers Sports program celebrated an Olympic qualification on Sunday evening, but attracted criticism for doing so.

Gophers alum Shane Wiskus was one of five members to make the Team USA men's gymnastics team for the Japan Olympics Sunday, prompting a celebratory tweet from Gophers Sports.

But the tweet received a significant amount of criticism given that the Gophers cut its men's gymnastics program last summer.

The program was one of four "non-revenue sports" eliminated as the University of Minnesota cut costs following the onset of COVID-19, the others being men's indoor and outdoor track and field, and men's tennis.

A report by 60 Minutes claimed the decision to cut the teams was directly connected to the loss of TV money from football and basketball due to the pandemic, with the cuts saving the university $1.6 million. Gophers Athletics director Mark Coyle refused to be interviewed for the show.

It's for this reason that the tweet was met with a critical response, with Australian gymnast Mary-Anne Monckton among those criticizing the program.

"If you can’t stand with someone in their worst times, don’t expect to be there in their best times," she tweeted. "You let Shane and the whole program down."

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Coyle did issue a statement to 60 Minutes at the time saying that while the cuts were "heartbreaking," it will "best position its department of athletics for sustainable, long-term success."

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