FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The current budget situation regarding the University of Alaska will, of course, affect the sports programs. While no final decisions have been made yet, the UA Board of Regents is preparing for multiple scenarios.
University President Jim Johnsen spoke about where University sports stand as of today.
"[We are ] not looking at cutting sports programs at this time. They are however on the table. Again, that is something the Regents will decide in September. We have seen some stepped-up community support for our programs, financially. But they are heavily subsidized by general funds, so we need to look at them just like we look at everything else," Johnsen said. "We are going to do our very best, however, to maintain some our sports programs because they do play a vital role in our student athletes. They become tremendous leaders and they actually I think lead in the classroom as well and do a great job there. Those programs are also very important for community relations so that we have a brand and an identity and there is some positive energy about the university in the community."
UAF, or any University for that matter, can't compete at the NCAA level with just one or two sports competing, they need a minimum of 10 at an institution. Johnsen went on to explain what may happen to the number of University sports in Alaska, depending on the board's strategy going forward.
"Well we have two athletic programs. UAF has 10 and UAA has 11. In order to have a single team, you have to have 10 teams at an institution. So depending on how we are organized, that will give us some options for how many teams total we have at the University of Alaska," Johnsen said. "So if we continue to have separately accredited Universities, then it is either going to be 10 teams or 20 teams, you can't have just one at one institution. Or if we are one university, then we could have 10 teams. So what 10 teams would survive in that situation? I don't know at this point."
The UA Board of Regents is expected vote on a plan of action for the entire University System next week.