NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt has laid off at least two people with six more forced to re-apply for their jobs as the Southeastern Conference's lone private school works to merge its athletics communications department with the university's main communications office.

The university said Wednesday in a statement released to The Associated Press that officials are continuously assessing the commitment to student-athletes, which includes improving how they communicate.

“We are more closely integrating athletics communications with the university’s overall communications efforts, reflecting the importance of athletics to the university’s mission," Vanderbilt said in its statement.

Vanderbilt declined to comment Wednesday on the specific changes inside the department, if the university was making further cuts elsewhere or if these changes were related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Boggs, assistant director for athletic communications overseeing men's basketball and golf, and Catherine Hilley, assistant director for athletic creative media, both were laid off Monday. Boggs was told in an email sent Monday that his position will be eliminated on Sept. 4.

A half-dozen others in athletics communications must re-apply for jobs with Vanderbilt. The final day in their current jobs will be Sept. 4 — the day before Vanderbilt's football opener hosting Mercer.

Vanderbilt eliminated its athletic department in September 2003 in a move pitched as moving sports under the university's central administration. That included the elimination of the athletic director position, then held by Todd Turner. Vanderbilt returned to using the athletic director title in July 2012.


More AP college football: and