Central Michigan University athletic director Michael Alford announced on Thursday evening the NCAA has approved the university’s request for FBS eligbility, nearly a month after falling below the minimum Title IX standards due to budget cuts.
“I am happy to announce that the NCAA Division I Council has approved CMU’s request for a waiver of the minimum Division I sports sponsorship requirements set forth in NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199,” Alford said in a prepared statement.
The waiver will be granted for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic seasons.
“We continue to research and determine the best course of action to return the department to full compliance,” Alford continued. “I want to thank the NCAA staff for making this an efficient process and for understanding the difficult decisions the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our department to make”
Back in May, the university announced it would discontinue men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and convert men’s cross-country into a non-scholarship sport due in part to “looming, university-wide budget cuts” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move saved the university $628,798.
For a program to retain FBS Division I eligibility in good standing, it must sponsor at least six men’s sports programs. CMU currently sits at five, with football, basketball, baseball, wrestling and cross-country (non-scholarship.) The waiver will allow the university to operate with five men’s teams over the next two seasons while the department considers its other options.
“As I have said throughout this process, through my various conversations I felt confident that everyone involved was understanding about our current financial situation and we look forward to returning to full compliance,” Alford said regarding the future of the department.
Central Michigan University is expected to open classes two weeks earliler than anticipated in order to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, although it is still to be determined exactle when the 2020-21 academic season will kick off for the new-look department.