Since 2017, the Athletics Oversight Committee of the Board of Directors has been conducting a review of Valparaiso University athletics. As of Nov. 20, the men’s soccer and tennis teams have been discontinued as a result of this review. 

According to an email sent out by Athletic Director Mark LaBarbara, the discontinuation of the men’s soccer program will go into effect immediately, while the discontinuation of the men’s tennis program will take effect at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season. 

One of the conclusions brought to light in the email is the University would be best served with an athletics program whose size was more in-line with those of the University’s Missouri Valley Conference colleagues and national peers. With 21 Division I teams, Valpo had the most athletic programs of any school in the Missouri Valley Conference and more than the majority of its Division I national peer institutions. 

The decision will allegedly allow the University to better focus on providing the best possible experience for all student-athletes while providing the best opportunity for competing successfully within the Missouri Valley Conference and the Department’s single sport conferences. 

A Valpo student-athlete, not affected by the program cuts, speculates that the men’s soccer team was cut due to expenses the team has. 

“This is about more than money,” LaBarbera said in an article by the NWI Times. “This will enable us to focus better and focus our resources on the programs that we do have that will continue to happen.”

Around 4 p.m, the men’s soccer team’s twitter account responded to a tweet from a high school student claiming to no longer be committed to Valpo. “This is an incredible player, and an even better person. Big future,” the tweet read. 

The student tweeted, “Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, I am officially uncommitted from Valparaiso University. Although this is a very big bump on the raid (road) I’m looking forward towards future possibilities!!”

For the athletes who are currently involved with the program and receiving an athletic scholarship, those who choose to remain enrolled at Valpo will continue to receive that support through graduation according to the email from LaBarbera. 

Per NCAA rules, all affected student-athletes will be granted immediate athletic eligibility at their new institutions if they choose to transfer. The University will assist in the transfer process.

This story will be updated as more information becomes more available.

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