U. of North Dakota cuts women’s hockey, swimming/divingThe University of North Dakota announced today that it will discontinue its varsity women’s hockey and men’s & women’s swimming/diving programs at the end of the academic year due to budget cuts.
Earlier this year, UND President Mark Kennedy announced that the athletics department would need to reduce its 2017-18 budget by more than $1.3 million. The university discontinued its baseball and men’s golf programs a year ago.“I have accepted the athletic director’s recommendation with the understanding that it provides for investing in championship teams in a balanced manner for both our women’s and men’s athletics programs,” said Kennedy. “This is a painful step to take for all parties involved, including me, but it is necessary given today’s budget realities. My heart goes out to all those who are disrupted by this change. We are proud of the way they have represented UND.”
The university will honor athletic scholarships for discontinued sports at their present equivalencies for returning student-athletes. Specific details have been provided to the student-athletes regarding their future aid.
UND Athletics Director Brian Faison met with the affected coaches, staff and student-athletes on Wednesday afternoon. CJOB.com reported that many of the student-athletes learned about the cuts through media reports before hearing word from the school.
“They were angry, shocked, disappointed, completely frustrated. It’s certainly understandable. You don’t have an answer to what you’ve taken away from them. It’s such a family, and we’ve really ripped a family apart. That’s a really hard dynamic to address, and frankly, you probably can’t.”
Former players have been ripping the school on social media, as the news comes just after USA Hockey agreed to pay female players more money, seemingly indicating a desire to grow the women’s game. The irony isn’t lost on Faison.
“That’s a concern, obviously. More critical for collegiate hockey, you’ve gone from 35 to 34 schools. That’s not a good thing and we know that. We had to what we needed to do for UND but at the same time we had some sense about the impact it was going to have. Certainly the irony is there, no question.”
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