Brown Thins Varsity Sports Teams in Effort to Find More Winners

Brown University is revamping its sports program and cutting varsity sports teams, as the school seeks to contend with earning just 2.8% of titles in the Ivy League over the last decade.

The changes don’t relate to the pandemic, but date back to a review started in the last school year, which found that the high number of varsity sports at Brown was a barrier to competitiveness, the Providence, Rhode Island, school said Thursday in a statement.

Beginning in the 2020-2021 year, varsity teams will be reduced to 29 from 38. Teams moving to club status include men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s golf, women’s skiing, men’s and women’s squash, women’s equestrian, and men’s track, field and cross country.

“I know it will be difficult for many in our community to see some of their favorite teams transition to club status,” Brown’s president, Christina Paxson, said in a statement on the school’s website. “But I also expect there will be true excitement for the heightened opportunities for competitive play that all the elements of this initiative will bring to our student-athletes.”

Many colleges have been making changes to their sports programs, including cutting teams, because of revenue losses from the economic impact of coronavirus. Brown said the initiative isn’t a measure to reduce budget or an effort to contend with the financial impact of the pandemic.

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