KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amid ongoing budget concerns, Avila University axed its track and field program last week.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics-affiliated athletic department will honor the scholarships already awarded to track and field student-athletes, but the Eagles will not compete this spring.
“Avila University has eliminated the track and field program effective Spring 2020 due to budget considerations,” the Kansas City, Missouri-based school said in a statement. “The cross country program will remain. No decision that impacts a group of students like this one is easy or simple. However, facility rentals, meet fees and travel expenses became too great to sustain.
“The University will continue to honor the athletes’ scholarships, and we hope that all of the impacted student-athletes will finish their studies at Avila.”
The move allows the school to eliminate three coaching positions, including head coach Je’Kel Smith and two part-time assistant coaching positions, and affects more than three dozen students.
There were 18 student-athletes listed on the Eagles men’s track and field roster for 2019-20, including 12 from Kansas City area high schools, and 19 student-athletes on the women’s roster, including 11 metro-area graduates.
The private Catholic university, which opened in 1916 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondolet, boasts an annual enrollment of around 1,700.