CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati Department of Athletics will discontinue its men’s soccer program immediately, Director of Athletics John Cunningham announced Tuesday.
“This was a difficult decision, but one made with the long-term interests of UC Athletics at the forefront," Cunningham said. "During this time of profound challenges and widespread uncertainty, I have engaged in a comprehensive and thorough review of UC’s sport offerings and long-term budget implications of supporting the number of student-athletes currently at UC. Based on this review, and in consultation with President Pinto and other University leaders, UC Athletics will no longer sponsor a men’s soccer program.
"Our men's soccer student-athletes have been outstanding representatives of the University in the classroom and on the field,” Cunningham said. “They may not fully understand this decision, but I want them to know they were truly and conscientiously considered during my deliberations about the future of UC Athletics.
"We are making this decision now to enable our men’s soccer student-athletes to have an opportunity to play at another institution if they choose to do so.”
Scholarships for current men's soccer student-athletes will be honored for the duration of their academic careers. Student-athletes who would like to join another institution's roster will be released without penalty and free to transfer immediately.
"I am most sincerely grateful to everyone who has supported the men’s soccer program at the University of Cincinnati," Cunningham said. "This includes former coaches, former student-athletes, donors and fans. Your legacy at UC will not be forgotten and your accomplishments will continue to be recognized."
Soccer player Will Lonneman reacted to the news Tuesday.
“Shock. I keep thinking, what if I never play soccer again," he said. "It’s kind of a shocking realization you never know when your next game will be. It’s a program that’s been here forever. It’s a hard pill to swallow.”
The men’s soccer program dated to 1973 with an all-time record of 385-408-84. The Bearcats were 5-11-1 in 2018 and longtime head coach Hylton Dayes stepped down following the season.