PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has eliminated the men’s tennis program from its compliment of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I sports, due to the program’s failure to meet sports sponsorship requirements.
The men’s tennis program at Maryland Eastern Shore failed to meet NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52, a rule pertaining to the minimum contest and participant requirements for sport sponsorship three of the last four years including the 2016 season which was cancelled after the squad could not reach minimum participant numbers to compete.
“I know that this loss will be difficult for the athletes and coach, and this is not a decision that was reached lightly,” Athletics Director Keith Davidson said. “But, not meeting sports sponsorship can jeopardize the Department of Athletics’ Division I status.”
The redirected resources from the men’s tennis program will allow the Hawks to add a women’s golf program, which will begin competition in the fall of 2017 and will help to maintain NCAA Division I status.
“Women’s golf will greatly enhance the University’s golf initiatives,” Davidson said. “It will help drive women’s enrollment into our Professional Golf Management (PGM) program and give women in the program a chance to compete collegiately on the Division I level.”
Head coach Walter Woods and the men’s tennis program’s remaining athletes were informed of the decision prior to the announcement. The Hawks will still field a women’s tennis team for the 2017 season and Woods remains the coach of that squad.
“The Network,” a tennis fundraising program, has been started to help support and enhance the women’s tennis program with hopes that enough funds will also be raised so that men’s tennis can return in the future.
The men’s tennis program has had a record of 12-138 (4-64 MEAC) from to 2004-05 to 2014-15.