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Division I: Mount St. Mary’s latest to announce elimination of men’s soccer program

Men’s soccer is among three sports that Division I Mount St. Mary’s University will slash  in 2013 in an effort the school says will reduce its athletics budget while growing its existing programs.

It’s the third school in the Mid-Atlantic region to decide to shutter its men’s soccer program, following in the heels of the University of Richmond and Towson University, though rumblings out of Towson indicate there may be life left in that school’s program, according to a Baltimore Sun story.

Men’s soccer, along with men’s and women’s golf, will cease at Mount St. Mary’s following the 2012-13 academic year. As many as 30 Mount student-athletes will be affected by the elimination of the three sports, as well as one full-time and three part-time coaching positions.

The decision, according to school officials, will save the University more than $400,000 annually.

“This is a decision we didn’t want to make, but the budget realities require it to protect and re-invest in our remaining Division I programs,” said University President Thomas H. Powell in a statement. “In recent years, we have made a concerted effort to enhance our elite academic programs and robust Catholic identity. This decision allows us to enhance the remaining programs for future athletic success.”

The Mount continues to compete in 16 Northeast Conference sports — baseball, basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, tennis and track and field (indoor and outdoor) for men; and basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and track and field (indoor and outdoor) for women.

The University is honoring the athletic scholarships for each student-athlete and will assist the affected student-athletes in the coming months — whether they choose to remain at the Mount or transfer to another school offering their sport. Each sport will shift to club-level status in the fall of 2013.

All coaches remain on contract through June 2013.

“We place a high value on the opportunities athletics create for our student-athletes, and it is never easy to reduce those opportunities,” said Lynne Robinson, director of athletics, in a statement. “This action doesn’t lessen the success and dedication our athletes, coaches and alumni have exhibited through the years. They have contributed greatly to the strength of our program and our strong Mountaineer tradition and pride.”

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