College Sports

Missouri State eliminates field hockey, adds beach volleyball as part of athletic budget cuts

Missouri State will eliminate its field hockey program and add beach volleyball as part of a plan to reduce athletic department spending by $1,061,400, the school announced Monday.

The Bears’ field hockey program started in 1966 and won the 1979 AIAW Division II national championship before the NCAA started sanctioning women’s athletics. Beach volleyball was added as a NCAA women’s sport in 2016.

According to a release, the Bears will offer the same number of women’s sports scholarships and save $300,600 by replacing field hockey with beach volleyball. Missouri State will honor scholarships for all current field hockey players, who are eligible to transfer to another school and compete right away.

“This was an incredibly-difficult undertaking,” Missouri State athletic director Kyle Moats said in the release. “The work group looked at nearly every possible scenario to reduce expenses without cutting programs. As budgets are being cut across campus, Athletics must do its part. Ultimately this decision was made instead of sacrificing the competitiveness of all other sports.”

Missouri State will reduce scholarships in equivalency sports by $209,900 and cut expenses for each athletic program by 7 to 12 percent, saving another $363,000.

The school also said it would restructure aid for fifth-year student-athletes who have exhausted their athletic eligibility, saving $108,000, reduce apparel spending by $59,300 and restructure a retiring staff member’s position to save $20,600.