ANCHORAGE — A new report highlights the uncertainty of the University of Alaska athletics programs, with some facing elimination as the university prepares to make drastic budget cuts in coming years.
The UA Anchorage and UA Fairbanks programs receive more than half their current budget from state funding. University officials are looking to significantly reduce those funds, The Alaska Public Radio Network reported.
The Anchorage campus is getting $5.3 million from the general fund for athletics this year, and university officials are looking to cut that in half by 2020 and eliminate it by 2025. The Fairbanks campus faces a similar financial challenge.
The report offers three ways for the UA to cut costs: eliminate one or both athletic programs; reduce one or both programs to sports in the Division 2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference, or GNAC; require an exemption from the NCAA to consolidate he two programs.
University of Alaska Anchorage Athletic Director Keith Hackett, a member of the committee that produced the report, said the most severe option would be to eliminate sports at one or both campuses. That would make UA the only state university in the country without intercollegiate athletics on at least one campus, Hackett said. By reducing its sports programs to the GNAC, the university would also lose some sports that are not in the conference, including hockey, gymnastics and skiing.
The university is accepting public comment on the proposals presented in the report, and the Board of Regents is expected to review the report at a September meeting.