Columbus State discontinues rifle program

Columbus State is discontinuing its rifle program, athletic director Todd Reeser confirmed Tuesday night.

"There is no easy way of saying it," Reeser said. "It is disappointing."

The program, which is co-ed, competes on the Division I level, while the rest of CSU programs compete in Division II.

It has been inexistence for six seasons, finishing the 2014-15 season on Feb. 21 at the NRA qualifier. The team also finished fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference championships in February.

"I have been here for 7-8 months and analyzed our overall program," Reeser said, "and that means each of our programs. We needed to restructure and accentuate our strengths. We have to protect the core."

Reeser told coach Mike Greene on Monday, and he contacted the athletes. Eight are currently on scholarship.

Reeser said the decision needed to made now since signing day begins today.

"We have kids who were committed to us," Reeser said. "Sure I could have waited. But I didn't want them to playing catchup if they want to continue to shoot somewhere else."

Reeser said the school would honor the scholarships for the eight on the team for another year, if they choose to stay at CSU.

Reeser refused to say how much money would be saved by discontinuing the program.

"It is a Division I program, and there is a lot of travel," Reeser said.

"There is a limited number of teams."

Rifle was one of four programs CSU added in 2008 along with women's golf and men's and women's track. CSU won its first match, defeating North Georgia on Sept. 12, 2009.

CSU hosted the NCAA championships at the end of the 2010-11 season.

CSU assistant coach Jamie Gray won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Team member Jonathan Hall competed in those same Olympics.

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, Follow Kevin on Twitter@lesports