GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The University of North Dakota is cutting baseball and men’s golf from its athletic offerings due to state budget cuts, the school announced Tuesday.
Interim President Edward Schafer said that through expense reductions and revenue increases, the university’s athletics department will see an estimated $2.4 million budget impact for 2016-17. He said the decision to cut the two sports was reached after looking at the state revenue shortfall forecast, conference sports sponsorship requirements and compliance with federal Title IX regulations.
“There are realities to the amount of funding the state can provide,” Schafer said in a statement. “In fact, all of our revenue sources will be under pressure for the foreseeable future. This requires us to focus, to prioritize, to plan and to make the tough decisions.”
UND Athletics Director Brian Faison said he met Tuesday with the student-athletes and coaches affected by the decision.
“This is the hardest decision we’ve had to make as a department and that I’ve ever had to make in my career,” Faison said in a statement. “UND Athletics is a part of the university and we have to do what is in the long-term best interests of the university, as well as the athletics department.”
School officials say they plan to honor all athletic scholarships for the affected sports. The athletics department will also assist student-athletes who want to transfer to another school to continue their playing careers.
The University of North Dakota’s baseball team played its first game in 1889 and has been in action except during a 1917-19 hiatus due to World War and another hiatus from 1921-55. The team is currently in its third year as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Men’s golf became a varsity sport at UND in 1929 and is currently in its second season of Big Sky Conference membership.
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