Central Michigan stops track amid coronavirus pandemic

Central Michigan University announced Tuesday it is discontinuing its men's track and field program as part of its strategic planning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision impacts both men's indoor and outdoor track and is effective immediately.

Central Michigan athletic director Michael Alford said the decision was not made lightly, but that the university is facing a new financial reality due to enrollment challenges. According to the university, the decision will affect 36 student-athletes and two full-time assistant positions, which are being eliminated.

"My heart goes out to these student-athletes; I know this is incredibly difficult for them," Alford said. "We hope they continue their academic journeys at Central Michigan, but also wish them the best if they're able to continue athletic pursuits elsewhere."

While the team and program are being discontinued, the university is honoring the scholarships for current men's track and field athletes, as well as new student-athletes set to begin classes in fall 2020. The scholarships will be good for the duration of their academic careers at Central Michigan, and if the athletes choose to transfer to another institution's track and field program, there will be no penalties to do so.

Central Michigan is now left with 16 athletic teams after the decision to cut men's track and field, which includes men's and women's basketball, football, women's soccer, women's golf, baseball, softball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey and women's track and field, among others.