Three years after dropping its men’s hockey program, Wayne State has followed suit with the women’s team.
Citing “continuing reductions in state appropriations to higher education,” the school announced in a statement Friday that it was dropping the women’s program immediately.
The move leaves the CHA with four teams — Mercyhurst, Niagara, Robert Morris and Syracuse.
“With all the successes we have enjoyed recently with championships, high academic achievement and graduation rates this action leaves an empty feeling and is a disappointment for our women’s hockey student-athletes, our alumni and the department,” Wayne State athletic director Rob Fournier said in a statement.
“This last resort consequence only underscores the economic reality that confronts higher education in the state of Michigan today. In the end, the cost and expenditures of our most expensive operating program determined this difficult decision. Importantly, however, the educational objectives of our women’s hockey student-athletes will be protected.”
Existing scholarships will be honored, the school said, and those who wish to transfer to other schools will not have to sit out a traditional transfer season under NCAA rules.
In 12 seasons, the Warriors had a 138-209-29 record. Jim Fetter was the coach for the last eight seasons, leading the team to a share of the CHA regular season title in 2007-08.
Wayne State’s dropping of its men’s program after the 2007-08 season was one of the events that led to the dissolution of the CHA men’s league in 2010.
The end of the men’s program was announced before the Warriors’ final season. The removal of the women’s team came less than three weeks after the team announced its captains for the 2011-12 season.
Wayne State was the only Division I women’s program in Michigan.
Contributing: Derek Dunning