GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, East Carolina is eliminating its men's and women's swimming and diving teams, as well as its men's and women's tennis programs.

What You Need To Know

  • East Carolina is cutting its men's and women's swimming and diving, as well as tennis programs

  • The move comes in an effort to help reduce the financial deficit the athletics department faces

  • 68 student athletes and 9 coaches will be affected

In a statement released by the university, cutting the four programs is part of a series of measures to reduce the deficit facing the sports department.

“The current athletics budget was not sustainable pre-COVID-19, and the university was working closely with athletics to decrease the annual deficit over the next year," Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson said. "With the pandemic, the deficit began to grow significantly where the impact was immediate and will affect future revenue and expenses for years to come."

According to the statement from the university, eliminating swimming, diving, and tennis, and several other measures are being taken to recognize nearly $5 million in long-term savings. Those savings will be used to reduce the Pirates' current deficit.

ECU had the most sports teams in the American Athletic Conference (20), now reduced to 16. Sixty-eight athletes and eight coaches will be directly affected by the move.

Because of the elimination of their sports, current Pirate athletes being affected will be able to transfer elsewhere and be eligible immediately for next season.