Scheetz and VanDonslear experience athletic budget cuts, hoping to find new teams
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Athletic departments across the country have made several budget cuts due to shortfalls that have been caused by COVID-19. Some of those steps include, cutting coaches salaries and eliminating programs.
Two former eastern Iowa tennis standouts, Rami Scheetz (Cedar Rapids Washington) and Luke VanDonslear (Linn-Mar), experienced those cuts.
Scheetz was about to start his sophomore season at the University of Connecticut and was expected to step into a leadership role for the Huskies. VanDonslear was set to attend Northern Colorado after committing back in March.
“I was looking forward to going to school, but also be with new guys and meet a lot of new people,” VanDonslear said.
“Definitely the last 24 hours isn’t especially what any athlete would want from any Division I program, any Division II program or even Division III,” Scheetz said.
Both schools eliminated their men’s tennis programs on Wednesday. Northern Colorado also eliminated the women’s tennis program. The University of Connecticut eliminated three other programs: men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving and women’s rowing.
“When I heard the A.D., I could see on his face that it wasn’t good news because he wasn’t really talking, wasn’t really smiling,” VanDonslear said.
“We heard all the rumors of UConn cutting their programs, needing to save money; about 25-percent of their budget needed to be saved,” Scheetz said.
Scheetz and VanDonslear are confident they’ll be able to find new teams in the next few days and their passion for the sport is still strong.
“I’ve been through a lot this year,” VanDonslear said. “No senior season, and now, this. Everything happens for a reason. I totally believe in that.”
“I’m in a fortunate position where I know that I’m going to be reached out to by a lot of coaches from all over the country, but I feel bad for the kids that aren’t going to have that opportunity and this might be their last time playing a sport they’ve been playing their entire life,” Scheetz said.
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