UA BOR reinstates Alpine skiing

by Bruce Schultz, UAA Interim Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

Last August, UAA leadership made the difficult decision to eliminate men’s hockey, women’s gymnastics and men’s and women’s skiing from the Seawolf Athletics roster. With UAA’s state funding reduced by $34 million since fiscal year ’14, leadership deemed it necessary to restructure with fewer athletic programs in order to create a more sustainable future.

As you may recall, Chancellor Sandeen sought public feedback after UAA announced the decision to discontinue these sports. In response, she recommended an alternate proposal to the UA Board of Regents during the Sept. 10, 2020 meeting that allowed for reinstatement if the programs could raise two years of operating expenses through private donations by February 2021. The alternate proposal also retained Nordic (cross-country) skiing at UAA, leaving only Alpine (downhill) skiing affected. The board voted to accept the alternate proposal.

Today, I am pleased to announce that Alpine skiing supporters have successfully raised two years of operating expenses, and the board has voted to reinstate this sport. To date, the total amount raised is $628,000, comprising $455,803 in cash gifts and $172,197 in pledged gifts. We join our student-athletes, coaches and alumni in celebrating and expressing gratitude for this remarkable effort, led by Head Coach Sparky Anderson.

Alpine skiing’s reinstatement will permit Seawolf Athletics to provide current student-athletes stability, encouraging these stellar performers to remain at UAA. Immediate reinstatement also allows coaches to actively recruit high-caliber student-athletes within the extremely competitive recruitment window.

By continuing to offer both Alpine and Nordic skiing, UAA remains a contender to win an NCAA team national championship and to host NCAA championship events. Hosting NCAA championships is only available to institutions that offer both Alpine and Nordic programs and results in increased visibility and visitation for the university and the community.

We are proud of Seawolf Athletics and believe that all teams provide a legacy of excellence and a source of pride. Community support is essential in moving forward with sustainability for all athletic programs. We are very humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in Alaska and beyond. We are hopeful that Alpine skiing’s fundraising success will be realized by the UAA hockey and gymnastics teams as well.

A news release summarizing the board meeting will be posted later today on the UA Public Affairs website.

Bruce Schultz
UAA Interim Chancellor

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