DALTON, Ga. -- Dalton State College is reducing its 10-sport athletic department to seven sports for the 2017-18 school year.
Dr. Margaret Venable, the school president, and interim athletic director Jon Jaudon revealed at a news conference this afternoon that women's volleyball, men's cross country and men's and women's tennis will be cut and that women's track and field will be added with athletes from cross country to keep Dalton State as a full member of the NAIA's Southern States Athletic Conference.
Also being cut is the cheer program, which is not NAIA-sanctioned, and scholarships for men's golf and men's soccer will be reduced unless or until more private support is generated to restore them.
Operating expenses are a big part of the college's athletic financial shortcomings, and travel is very costly for sports such as volleyball and tennis with SSAC mandates to go the breadth of the league, which stretches to New Orleans, Jaudon pointed out.
Men's basketball has similar travel requirements but is the school's only revenue-generating sport.
Jaudon said the sports being dropped are expected to save the college about $600,000 in the next school year, and Venable pointed out that other adjustments will lead to a total of about $1 million in the reduced sports budget.
She also said that scholarship athletes from the dropped sports who choose to remain at Dalton State will continue to get financial assistance. Any who decide to transfer may do so without having to sit out a year, and Jaudon said he and the coaches would do whatever they could to help the athletes find new homes if that's what they want.
See more in Friday's Times Free Press.