University of New Mexico Announces Ski Team to be Discontinued
For the second time in less than a year we are reporting that a major collegiate program is cutting Winter sports. Today the University of New Mexico Vice President of Athletics Paul Krebs announced that the Lobos would discontinue men’s and women’s skiing programs. Per usual, economics is blamed as the deciding factor.
In a press release on the UNM athletics site, the University says the athletic department will save approximately $600,000 per year in operating costs, scholarships and salaries. “This is truly a last resort for us,” said Krebs. “You never want to cut sports, and you never want to limit opportunities, but at this time, this is the scenario that best helps our department in the long run”
The decision will cut the sports programs at UNM from 22 to 20 with 9 sports remaining for men and 11 for women. Current NCAA rules for Division 1 membership allow for as few as 16 sports.
The Lobos have a rich history of skiing in New Mexico. Skiing has been a varsity program at the University since 1970, 12 years before the NCAA even sanctioned the sport. The 2004 ski team is one of only two UNM teams to ever win an NCAA title. Last year’s team was 7th in the NCAA with 25 student athletes competing.
In a Facebook post by Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, head coach Fredrik Landstedt is quoted as saying, “We are fired as of June 30th. The ski team has the top athletic program, top academic program, and we have always covered our budget. We will fight this and will need support from everyone you know and your contacts in Santa Fe and Board of Regents. We will need letters and emails sent to UNM, Regents, and the Athletic Department showing support for our program and impacts for the state of New Mexico and the ski industry. I will let you know as soon as we put something together.” WinterReview has not verified the statement by Landstedt.
The Seawolves have been there, and lived to ski another day
Fredrik Landstedt isn’t the only coach that has had to fight for a Winter sports program. University of Alaska Anchorage athletic director Keith Hackett was in a similar position in October of 2016. He was tasked with petitioning the NCAA to cut their ski program and said, “This is the most difficult decision I have had to make as a professional and a person who is passionate about College Athletics and the Student-Athletes we work with.” However, in a big win for the ski program at UA, president Jim Johnsen rescinded the school’s request to the NCAA. In the days following the news the Seawolves attracted thousands of supporters, online petitions and Facebook campaigns to keep the programs alive.
The Lobos Ski Team Facebook page has not posted the news. If you’re a skier or a lover of Winter sports, visit the team on FB and send them a message of support. Share their story and rally around coach Landstedt and the students and let UNM and the NCAA know that Winter sports are an important opportunity for collegiate students and athletes.
WinterReview will continue to watch for new developments so check back or comment below if you have any news.
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