Appalachian State, a Division I men's soccer power in the late 1970s, has cut the men's soccer program and two other men's programs in response to the financial impact of the COVID-19.
App State is the 11th school to cut one or more Division I program and the second after Cincinnati to drop men's soccer in 2020.
"This is a very difficult day for the entire App Family,"
director of athletics Doug Gillin
said. "Our mission is to guide and support our student-athletes in their quest for excellence academically, athletically and socially. After careful and
thoughtful review, we determined that we could no longer sustain 20 program offerings in a fiscally responsible manner. Since the move to FBS, App State has sponsored the most sports in the Sun Belt
and among the most in the Group of Five. This will bring us in line with most of our peer institutions."
App State, which is also discontinuing men's tennis and men's indoor track &
field, will now sponsor 17 NCAA Division I sports (seven men's sports and 10 women's sports), one above the minimum. Along with other cost-cutting moves, the cuts will equate to a 20 percent overall
reduction to App State athletic department'budget for fiscal year 2021, or an approximate $5 million reduction.
The Mountaineers were a national power in the late 1970s under head coach
, later U.S. Soccer's general secretary. They were led by Nigerian Thompson Usiyan
, the all-time NCAA Division I scorer with 109 career goals. He also set
records for most goals in a season (46 in 1980) and points in a season (108 in 1980) and career points (255).
App State's men's soccer program was founded in 1962, making it one of the
oldest Division I programs in the South. The last of its four NCAA Tournament appearances was in 1980.
App State is in the Sun Belt, which revived its men's soccer championship in 2014
when App State joined the conference from the Southern Conference. Only three other Sun Belt schools offer men's soccer: Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern and Georgia State. Men's soccer has two
associate members: Central Arkansas and Howard.
In their last two seasons under Jason O'Keefe, the Mountaineers went 8-6-3 and 11-7-1. The 11 wins in 2019 were the most
for the Mountaineers since 2002. App State’s win over North Carolina was its first since 1980 and marked the second straight season the Mountaineers beat a ranked team.