Clemson to keep track, cross country programs after all — and add to women’s teams

Ben Portnoy
·2 min read

Clemson is reversing course on COVID-19 pandemic-related cuts.

The university announced Thursday the school will continue to sponsor men’s track and field and cross country after previously announcing the programs would cease.

Clemson will also look to add one or more women’s varsity sport, though which sport that might be has yet to be announced.

“This is the right decision for our University, our Department of Athletics and, most importantly, for the young men and women who proudly wear the Clemson uniform,” Clemson President Jim Clements said in a news release. “I am thrilled that we are able to continue these men’s programs and I am excited for the new varsity opportunities we will soon be adding for our female student-athletes.”

The move to cut cross country as well as the men’s track and field indoor and outdoor programs was initially estimated to save Clemson $2 million after the university projected a $25 million shortfall this fiscal year, according to a previous school statement.

The school, in its news release Thursday, said: “The decision comes after revised financial projections show the impacts of COVID-19, while significant, did not harm the University in as drastic a way as anticipated. ... Significant contributions from philanthropic fundraising, along with state and federal financial support and appropriations, have positioned the University and the Athletics Department to reconsider its decision. Their generosity allows Clemson to reinvest in supporting the men’s track programs and to expand its women’s sports offerings.”

Clemson has added both softball and women’s golf to its roster of sponsored varsity sports in recent years. According to Thursday’s news release, the university’s female student population is also expected to outnumber males for the first time in history in fall 2021.

“I am appreciative of the support of the University and our collaboration that will allow us to not only maintain our current sports portfolio but add to it in the very near future,” Athletic Director Dan Radakovich said in a news release. “As we communicated previously, the original decision was difficult, and we did what was necessary at the time to maintain compliance with gender equity while addressing our financial situation.”

Men’s track and field was first sponsored at Clemson in 1953. The program has earned 23 ACC Team Championships, 16 individual NCAA champions, 22 Olympians and four Olympic Gold Medalists over that time.