Ski Team Victory For University Of Alaska
In a press release yesterday UA president Jim Johnsen says that he will reverse his recommendation to the state Board of Regents to eliminate it’s Ski and Indoor Track and Field programs.
Under NCAA guidelines, a Div II program must field 10 teams. UA requested a waiver last month in an effort to eliminate 4 of their 13 programs to reduce costs. The NCAA responded by not responding. Instead the governing body stated that they would not consider the waiver until after the programs had been eliminated. “As a result of this non-response from the NCAA, I will recommend to the Board of Regents that we not reduce teams at this time.” – UA president Jim Johnsen
Proceeding with the elimination of the programs without the waiver could have had far reaching financial consequences for the school including sanctions by the NCAA. According to the Alaska Dispatch News Johnsen told the board of regents, “That risk is much too great”.
This is a big win for the sports program at UA. The Seawolves attracted thousands of supporters as online petitions gathered thousands of signatures and Facebook fans expressed support for keeping the programs alive.
Johnsen acknowledged the public support by stating, “given the volume of voices of support for athletics and the passion of their arguments, we will recommend instead to engage with these supporters to invite and encourage their financial support for the athletic programs they value so much.”
Facing budget shortfalls from the state, UA will be looking to these supporters for financial support. Let’s hope that fans of the Seawolves and collegiate Winter sports will put their money where their Facebook shares are.