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U of M approves plan to eliminate three sports amid budget crunch

Men's tennis, indoor track and gymnastics will go.

The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents has approved a plan to eliminate three more sports from its athletics department amid an ongoing budget crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a meeting on Friday, the board approved a revised proposal that will eliminate men's tennis, men's indoor track, and men's gymnastics.

The university's athletics department is facing a budget shortfall of $45-65 million resulting from the pandemic.

Much of the losses result from the postponement of fall sports, and while Big Ten football has found a way to restart the season, games will be played in front of empty stadiums, current a crucial revenue source for the Gophers.

The Board of Regents revealed its plan last month to eliminate four varsity sports, but in Friday's meeting, men's outdoor track and field was saved from elimination.

The university says it has already sought to reduce its shortfall through salary reductions, furloughs and a hiring and spending freeze, but had to make further cuts to the department.

The three sports will be eliminated after the 2020-21 athletic season.

The Star Tribune reported on Friday that the decision has been met with criticism from athletics students and from major donors, some of whom have said they'll withhold future donations if sports are cut.

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