Oklahoma Baptist Cuts Seven Programs, Including Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving

Photo Courtesy: Oklahoma Baptist Athletics

Oklahoma Baptist, a multi-time NAIA national champion and now NCAA Division II contender, announced Monday that it intends to cut seven sports at the end of the 2020-21 season.

As listed in the seventh paragraph of an open letter to the community, the school cites budget constraints for the axing of men’s golf, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s lacrosse.

Program reductions were approved by the school’s Board of Trustees last Friday, with the OBU athletics department aiming to reduce its annual budget by approximately $3 million. The program cuts followed a “an exhaustive financial analysis to help departments identify potential cost-saving measures and other operational efficiencies to reduce the overall budget by the necessary amount,” that eventually led to the inevitability of reducing varsity offerings.

From the letter:

Please know that we are heartbroken for our student-athletes and coaches, and we share the deep disappointment felt by the alumni, fans, and supporters who have helped build these highly successful programs. Through their exceptional representation of the green and gold, each of these teams has brought vitality and distinction to the university through the years.

Oklahoma Baptist underwent a period of NAIA dominance, winning four straight men’s titles from 2012-15 and three straight women’s titles from 2013-15. All four meets in that period were held in Oklahoma City.

OBU joined the Great American Conference in Division II – its swim teams swim are affiliate members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The men’s swimming team finished fifth at its first Division II championships in 2018.

From the letter:

While these reductions are painful, we believe they are nonetheless necessary to the long-term financial health of the university in general, and the athletics department in particular. Maintaining a sustainable number of varsity teams will increase the viability and strength of our remaining programs and allow OBU to redouble its commitment to all-around excellence in intercollegiate athletics.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Terrible for all the athletes who committed to Oklahoma Baptist and gave up possible other options.

2 years ago

So sad!