Chancellor Sandeen announces reconfiguration of UAA Athletics

by Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

As you know, significant reductions in state funding have dramatically shifted the university’s budget situation. UAA’s funding from the state of Alaska has been reduced by $34 million since fiscal year 2014. UAA leadership has had to make difficult decisions about which programs and services the university can sustain long term.

Today, Director of Athletics Greg Myford and I announced we will reconfigure UAA Athletics in order to preserve the department’s long-term viability. This was a difficult decision and will result in the elimination of four programs from the UAA sports roster beginning with the 2021-22 athletic season. Affected programs include men’s hockey, women’s gymnastics, men’s skiing and women’s skiing. Other sports remain unaffected.

This announcement reflects the UAA Athletics program's participation in adjusting its sports offerings to align with existing UAA resources. The university’s decision to discontinue these sports follows on the heels of Board of Regents’ direction last fall to consolidate academic programs and services to meet budget reductions.

At the University of Alaska Board of Regents’ meeting on Sept. 10-11, 2020, I will seek approval for the proposed athletics reconfiguration. Between Aug. 19 and Sept. 9, the university community and public will have the opportunity to comment on the UAA Athletics decision during a virtual town hall meeting on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. and BOR public testimony on Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. Feedback may also be sent to uaa_feedback@alaska.edu.

We are making the announcement now, a year in advance of these changes going into effect, to allow impacted student-athletes and coaching staffs time to plan for the future. UAA will assist them in any way it can.

My heart goes out to the student-athletes and coaching staffs affected by this situation. This comes at a difficult time as they are already facing much uncertainty surrounding this year’s season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud of the resilience they have shown.

Our student-athletes are continually recognized for their academic excellence, their volunteer work in the community and their contributions to campus life. Among the ranks of our student-athlete alumni, many have gone on to successful careers and leadership positions in their communities.

As you interact with our student-athletes and coaching staff members, please exercise compassion and empathy. We are Seawolves. We support each other and face our challenges together.

Sincerely,
Cathy Sandeen
UAA Chancellor

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