App State drops men's soccer and two other men's programs

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 Hank Steinbrecher, 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.

15 comments about "App State drops men's soccer and two other men's programs".
  1. Wallace Wade, May 27, 2020 at 9 a.m.

    Men's College Soccer DOA since 1972

  2. frank schoon, May 27, 2020 at 9:39 a.m.

    This is not what I expect from a Div1 school in North Carolina where there  is so much soccer going on. I wonder if they have a women's soccer team, if so, why wasn't that dropped...I don't know all the metrics of why this occurred.  

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, May 27, 2020 at 4:37 p.m.

    Women's soccer is pretty safe as long as the school maintains a men's football program. The size of the men's football program is so large that it requires several women's programs to maintain balance.

  4. Wallace Wade, May 27, 2020 at 9:41 a.m.

    Yes, they still have a Women's Soccer Program

  5. Wallace Wade, May 27, 2020 at 9:42 a.m.

    Frank, Title IX....

  6. frank schoon replied, May 27, 2020 at 10:40 a.m.

    Ok, Wallace, but how is it that there are more women's sport teams than men's....I don't get  that not even one women's team is cancelled.....

  7. Travis Smith, May 27, 2020 at 12:38 p.m.

    Frank-one way schools remain compliant under title IX is equal scholarship opportunities. With no sport on the women's side offering anywhere near the amount of scholarships as mens football, mens programs are the ones that get dropped to remain compliant. I wish football was removed from the equation but thats the reason why there are more women's sports. 

  8. humble 1, May 27, 2020 at 12:51 p.m.

    Sad day for the this school and their soccer alumni and fans.  This is more about the 2nd coming of soccer being oversold by MLS et al, and the failure of the soccer community to get college soccer at least somewhat in allignment with FIFA LOTG.   If soccer cannot put butts in seats in college, this is what happens.  When I look at the numbers for the soccer teams, which unlike track and field and a lot of the other 'niche' sports - is the number one spectator sport in the world - I am surprised so many of these programs have held on for as long as they have.  The can come back, some schools have added men's soccer over teh past 5 years, but the sky-is-falling crowd won't note that.  Carry on!  

  9. William Allen, May 27, 2020 at 12:59 p.m.

    As a NC resident, this is an absolute gut punch to local soccer. App St's win over UNC last year (admittedly in a down year for them) was a huge deal. They had some really good players coming in for Fall 2020. Men's Soccer in NC is just an easy target for budget cuts: large roster, lots of expensive out of state scholarships and international players. But to be fair, this makes it clear that the program was likely carried financially by football revenue.

  10. Ric Fonseca, May 27, 2020 at 1:58 p.m.

    It'd behoove someone to review the sports being continued especially football with its mega-sized squads and (almost) millionaire paid coaches.  Betcha trimming this sport's budget would do wonderes for their bottom lines!!!  

  11. frank schoon replied, May 27, 2020 at 3:55 p.m.

    Ric, Amen

  12. Larry Beck replied, May 29, 2020 at 8:44 a.m.

    You are right on target!  Cut massive football budgets too; they are all so bloated.

  13. uffe gustafsson, May 27, 2020 at 7:01 p.m.

    That's div 1 schools 
    how about div 2 and 3?
    wonder what will happen to them.
    they obviously don't have those schoolships to deal with but still costs are there for traveling and coaching.
    lots of div 2 and 3 don't have football to bring in the money.

  14. Sean Guillory, May 29, 2020 at 12:56 a.m.

    Without football, none of these programs exist, especially the women's programs.

  15. Larry Beck, May 29, 2020 at 8:42 a.m.

    This makes me so mad!  We recently lost our men's team at UNM here in NM.  But good ole football didn't suffer at all.  They could have docked them 2 million easily and kept the Lobo soccer team.  Then later on they paid off the football coach to leave; $850,000.  Stupid!  Football never suffers and it is a dying sport due to brain injuries.  How about dropping football instead.  All this would apply to App state, as well.

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