Wright State is is eliminating their softball program, the school announced on Wednesday afternoon. The cancellation marks the first for a Division I program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move comes as part of a cost-cutting measure for the Raiders’ athletic department. The school is also cutting their men’s and women’s tennis programs. With the move, Wright State will now sponsor just eleven sports; participation in Division I athletics requires sponsoring of at least fourteen sports. According to the school press release, a waiver will be pursued to allow the school to continue to compete at its current level.
On Twitter, head coach Laura Matthews wrote, “Words cannot express how devastated I am, and I haven’t fully processed this yet. I am honored to have coached a group of tremendous women who exemplify everything student-athlete should be. They deserve better than this. Please reach out to me for questions about any of them.”
In a school statement, Wright State athletics director Bob Grant said, “This is extremely difficult because of our strong belief that athletics is an integral part of the educational work we do at Wright State — the education of the whole person. This affects the lives of students who make up a group of some of the highest achievers on this campus. A group that is achieving at record levels academically, giving back to the community, and is strongly engaged with the university. Our main focus now is supporting the students and coaches impacted by this decision.”
The Wright State softball program finished the abbreviated 2020 season with a 7-11 overall record, and had not yet reached Horizon League play when the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the campaign. The 2020 season marked head coach Matthews’ third at the helm of the program.