University of San Francisco to drop its D1 tennis programs

University of San Francisco students learned on Friday that their men’s and women’s tennis teams would be taking to the courts for the last time when the season wraps up.  

The university said its decision to discontinue both Division 1 programs was among the difficult moves being made on campus to save money due to enrollment shortfalls.

"I think there’s probably other things that they could have done to save money if they needed to save money, and I think that cutting the tennis team was not the way to do it," said student Chiara Giannini.

"I mean I can’t say that I was too surprised," said student Diego Davidson-Gomez. "Because I feel that a lot of programs have been getting cut, and a lot of programs here don’t have a lot of funding, especially like the arts."

Together, university officials said the men’s and women’s tennis programs were costing the school more than $1 million to operate each year. 

The university said it had spent years, unsuccessfully, trying to fundraise enough money to keep the programs going.

"I know that the university is in a bit of a dire situation, so I know that they had to cut something, and not a lot of folks knew about tennis," said student Aderet Parrino. "I’m glad they didn’t end up cutting a major, because I think that would have been more detrimental to more students and also incoming students."

In a statement on Friday, University of San Francisco athletic director Larry Williams said in part, "Personally, I am very sorry that our players and coaches received this news today. They did not expect their USF careers to be shortened in this way. We are doing everything we can to assist them as they chart their next steps and plan for their futures."

The university said the 16 players on both teams were being offered the opportunity to keep their scholarships and continue their studies at the university or transfer out.

"I can only imagine how those players and their families feel, and then their tennis fans feel," said Giannini.

The university said it was currently working with the programs' four coaches to figure out their next steps. 

In an email to KTVU one of the team's coaches said that both he and his team had been ‘blindsided’ by the move on Friday.