NC State Dumps Rifle Team

North Carolina State University announced on Tuesday that it would “discontinue” its rifle team after the 2022-2023 season. It is currently the only sport at the university in which male and female athletes compete equally against one another. 2023 marks the 65th year that NCSU has had rifle as a varsity sport.

From Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan:

 NC State will discontinue its varsity rifle program following the conclusion of the 2022-23 academic year, the university announced today.  The athletics program will honor the scholarships of the impacted student-athletes on the coed roster through their undergraduate years at NC State at the level of financial aid they are presently receiving.   

“After much consideration and a thoughtful evaluation of our program, we came to this difficult decision,” said Boo Corrigan, Director of Athletics. “Being able to provide a top-level Division I experience for our student-athletes is our first priority and it is no longer feasible to do this for our rifle program.” 

The student-athletes will also continue to receive access to academic support, sports psychology and sports medicine resources through their time at NC State.  Should the students choose to transition the program to a club sport, the University will provide administrative support as they get established.  

The Wolfpack has been one of just 22 rifle programs in the NCAA and the sport is the only one at NC State that does not or will not compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The program has been sponsored at NC State since 1958.

The NC State Rifle Team competed in the Great American Rifle Conference. The team’s interim head coach is Edie Fleeman. If the name is familiar it is because she has been a member of the NRA Board of Directors for many years.

The NC State fan website, Backing the Pack, thinks it came down to money and not performance. The team has a number of scholastic All-Americans, a graduate that was a 2021 Olympian, and current junior Ben Salas qualified for the NCAA individual championships. That said, you do have to wonder how much it costs to field a 8-member team when compared to the other Wolfpack teams. Given that they will continue to honor the scholarships of the eight as well as provide other support services, were the costs of ammo, travel, and a coach’s salary really that out of line. Moreover, the announcement notes they would provide administrative support if the team transitioned to a club sport. In other words, I’m not seeing them saving much, if any, by dumping the rifle team.

Looking at the revenues and expenses of all the varsity sports at NC State on the website College Factual, every sport with the exception of men’s football and basketball lost money. The rifle team brought in approximately $201,000 in revenue while spending $415,000 for a net loss of $214,000. In dollar terms, they had a lower monetary loss than any of the other money-losing sports. Some, like men’s baseball and women’s basketball, had losses in the seven figures. On a per capital basis, sports like men’s and women’s golf were much worse money losers. With 10 players versus the eight on rifle team, they each had double the loss.

It is interesting to compare the financial administration of the NC State rifle team versus some of its competitors in and out of conference. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the NCAA champion, broke even on revenues of approximately $260,000. The defending two-time champion, the University of Kentucky, lost $700,000 on their rifle team. That is because it had no reported revenue which I find hard to believe. Others in the Great American Rifle Conference such as the Universities of Memphis and Akron broke even. I am excluding West Point and Navy for obvious reasons. West Virginia University is the champion when it comes to financial administration of their rifle team. They made a profit of $2.3 million. Excluding UK which seems to be an outlier, if the other schools can either break even or make a substantial profit, then does this say about the financial administrative abilities of the NC State Athletic Department? Not much, I’d say.

2 thoughts on “NC State Dumps Rifle Team”

  1. This is definitely political, I’d say John. I hope this makes the news on Daily Bullet. You’re correct about the relative cost with golf, too. Your comment on equal competition is also spot on. I wonder whether the women on the team do better overall? $214K doesn’t seem all that much, wouldn’t it be great if Ruger or Winchester or Browning took up the slack? I doubt this will happen though. This decision by the University is nothing less than a blatant move against awareness and skills about firearms in the general community by University Administrators .

    1. Ruger would be the ideal partner as they have a large factory in Mayodan, NC.

      From what I’ve read elsewhere, the facility on campus for shooting is in the basement of an older building and only suitable for air rifle. The team has to drive 30 minutes to another range at their own expense for smallbore practice.

      You would also think that with the Interim Head Coach being a member of the NRA Board of Directors she might be able to bring some attention (and money) to the issue. Forget the money part as that is going to Brewer…

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