Cumberland University will no longer sponsor cycling as a varsity sport effective at the end of the spring semester due to increased spending on travel and a decrease in the number of athletes on the roster over the last six years.
Cumberland will honor the scholarships of the current student-athletes participating in the cycling program at the university until they graduate or continue attending the school. The spring schedule, which will begin March 1-2 in Athens, Ga., will not be affected by the university’s decision to discontinue sponsoring the sport.
“Each year and at five-year intervals, the university and athletic department always assesses each sport with relation to the number of student-athletes involved and also the cost to sponsor the sport, which includes uniforms, travel and coaching staff,” said Ron Pavan, director of athletics. “At this time we feel it is in the best interest of the University to discontinue sponsoring cycling as a varsity sport.”
The program began about a decade ago and rose to become nationally ranked as recently as a year ago.
But longtime coach Tim Hall, a former catcher for Woody Hunt’s baseball Bulldogs, left the school last summer for the same position at Lees-McRae College.
Under current coach Britton Kinnard, the team has 12 riders listed on the roster posted on the athletic department’s website. But only four riders competed for Cumberland when the team finished ninth in the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in late October.