BYU–Hawaii officially ending NCAA athletics program

BYU-Hawaii Women's Tennis // Pacific West Conference

It’s heartbreakingly official.

After weeks of speculation, Brigham Young University–Hawaii announced today that it will phase out its athletics program over the next three years.

The school sent out a release this evening stating the money being spent on athletics will instead be used to provide educational opportunities to nearly a thousand more students.

Brigham Young University–Hawaii was established by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1955, and currently has 2,700 undergraduate students enrolled from over 70 different countries.

View press release below:

March 28, 2014

RE: BYU–Hawaii Athletics

From its founding in 1955, BYU–Hawaii has maintained its tradition of providing an excellent education in an environment of religious faith. In its continuing efforts to serve more students, periodically the university evaluates ways to become more effective and efficient. Significant efforts have been made in recent years to increase student enrollment to 3,200, an increase of nearly 20 percent from its current 2,700 students. With the rising costs of providing education, many alternatives have been evaluated to find ways to keep costs as low as possible for students and their families.

Following much discussion, more than ten years of analysis, and consideration of several options, the decision has been made to phase out NCAA athletics at BYU–Hawaii over the next three years. The money being spent on athletics programs will be used to provide educational opportunities for the increasing number of students from around the world who can be served by the university. This transition will affect eleven (11) intercollegiate teams, including: men’s/women’s basketball, men’s/women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s/women’s soccer, softball, men’s/women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball. The teams currently compete in the NCAA’s Division II PacWest Conference.

The dedication and excellence of coaches, staff, and student athletes have been significant and noteworthy over the many years of Seasider athletics. The efforts of all who have contributed to the tradition of the athletics program are greatly appreciated.

In recent years, trends have emerged in collegiate athletics that are continuing in a direction that will be challenging for an institution the size of BYU–Hawaii. These trends are compounded when considering the remote location of the campus. After careful consideration and thoughtful discussion, the Board of Trustees determined to approve the phase-out of NCAA athletics. The Board, Executive Committee, and university administration feel that the top priority is to serve more students, especially those from the Pacific and Asia. Plans to increase enrollment to 3,200 students are already in progress with the construction of new on-campus housing facilities and the Heber J. Grant building. Additional construction projects are in planning stages with completion expected in the next three years.

The university is working with student athletes’ goals and their desires to participate in college athletics. All committed scholarships will be honored, and the scheduled seasons will be completed. During and after the three-year transition period, full- and part-time coaches and staff will be given access to employment resources and opportunities for placement inside and outside of the university as needed.

Additional information will be made available as the transition occurs.

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