A few months ago, Pitt had announced it was adding Women’s Lacrosse as a varsity sport in 2021. Considering the popularity of the sport in the ACC and the sports overall rising growth it was a move that made sense. It now appears to have been made to in anticipation of dropping a program. Pitt announced today that it would be discontinuing Women’s Tennis at the conclusion of the upcoming 2019 spring season.
Heather Lyke explained her reasoning in a press release from Pitt this morning:
“This was an extremely difficult decision that was reached only after considerable research and evaluation,” Lyke said. “We have a responsibility to provide our student-athletes with the finest opportunities to compete and achieve at the highest levels. That, unfortunately, has not been the case with our women’s tennis program. Our analysis concluded this is a hard but necessary decision to ensure the best student-athlete opportunities for growth and success in the future. I have personally pledged to each member of our tennis program that they will have our University’s full support and assistance as they consider their future academic, athletic and personal pursuits.”
If you take a long at the team’s record since joining the ACC, this move is not surprising. Out of 70 conference games, Pitt only won a single conference game and it was during the 2015-2016 season. 1-69 is a pretty shocking record, and I’m not surprised Pitt decided to pull the plug.
Obviously, this has to be awful for the staff and players of the team. Despite the record, I’m sure they spent thousands of hours training and practicing. To be a D1 athlete for any sport, even on a bad team, takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.
There are currently 7 athletes on the team with four being seniors. Pitt will honor the scholarships of the three remaining women as long as they maintain academic eligibility with the NCAA. If they want to transfer, Pitt will help them in that record. The team didn’t have any incoming recruits, so that will be the end of the team.
Pitt hasn’t dropped a sport since it dropped men’s gymnastics and tennis in in the 1994-1995 academic year.