UAA to cut 4 sports programs including all Div. I sports
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska Anchorage is eliminating four programs from the UAA sports roster. The announcement was made Wednesday by UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen.
“This is not an outcome that any of us would choose if not confronted with the reality of our fiscal situation,” Director of Athletics Greg Myford said. “Our student-athletes are continually recognized for the strength of their academic performance and the contributions they have made to this community through their many hours of volunteer work.”
Four different programs are slated for elimination including both UAA’s Division I sports of men’s hockey and women’s gymnastics. Both men and women’s skiing are also on the chopping block.
In a release sent out by UAA, the university said it will “reconfigure UAA Athletics in order to preserve the program’s long-term viability. Significant reductions in state funding have dramatically shifted the university’s fiscal situation.”
The changes will go into effect for the 2021-22 season and are expected to save approximately $2.5 million per year.
On Wednesday, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Dan White said Nanook sports are not part of the recommendation and that the university “has no plans to reduce them.”
“I am confident that our Alaska Nanooks athletics program will continue to move forward in a positive direction and will remain an important part of our university and our community,” White said in the statement.
UAF has 10 sports in its athletic program in both Div. I and II.
At a press conference Wednesday, Sandeen said the university needed to cut an additional $7-8 million from the fiscal year budget. Sandeen said drastic cuts have already been made to administration, facilities and academic programs but this is the first time such large cuts have been made to athletics.
UAA will continue to offer both men and women’s track and field, basketball, cross country and women’s volleyball. All of these programs compete in Division II and are a part of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All of these sports are played in the Alaska Airlines Center.
The decision is not final and must be approved by the UA Board of Regents at their Sept. 10-11 meeting. If the decision is approved, Myford said athletes will be given assistance with transferring to other schools but that all athletes are fully funded this year.
Anyone in the community interested in voicing their opinions about the proposal can do so during a virtual town hall meeting on Aug. 26 and Board of Regents public testimony on Aug. 31. Information about both events is available at uaa.alaska.edu/calendars/public.
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