The University of Cincinnati's soccer field. Courtesy: Katie Kapusta/Spectrum News 1 Cincy

With athletic departments reeling from the coronavirus fallout and bracing for a shortened — or even canceled — college football season, schools are taking drastic measures to protect themselves financially.

Driving the news: The University of Cincinnati cut men's soccer yesterday, which will save the school roughly $800,000 per year. The Bearcats have been competing in men's soccer since 1973.

  • It's the second major program to be discontinued since the start of the pandemic (Old Dominion wrestling), and the sad reality is that the cuts may have only just begun.

What they're saying: "I think now that Cincinnati just did it, watch the next month. They cleared the way for other people to do it. Cincinnati puts it on a different level," one FBS athletic director told Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel.

  • "Athletic directors are using this as a reset," an industry source told Thamel. "Some athletic directors have been talking about cutting sports for three years and just looking for the right time."

The big picture: In a letter sent to NCAA president Mark Emmert and obtained by AP, commissioners of the AAC, Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA (aka the "Group of Five") asked the NCAA to relax certain requirements for four years to provide "short-term relief."

  • Most notably, they asked for relief from the minimum number of sports a school must sponsor (NCAA rules require D-I schools to sponsor at least 16 varsity sports).

Go deeper: How the sports world is helping on coronavirus

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This story is from Barak Ravid's new weekly newsletter, Axios from Tel Aviv, which launches today. Sign up here.

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