UA BOR extends fundraising deadline for hockey and gymnastics

by Bruce Schultz, UAA Interim Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

I’m writing with good news following today’s University of Alaska Board of Regents meeting. This afternoon, the board passed two motions focused on UAA hockey and gymnastics. The motions extended the fundraising deadlines for the two sports, allowing for automatic reinstatement if fundraising targets are met.

As you may recall, the board voted in September 2020 to discontinue hockey, gymnastics and Alpine skiing unless the teams could raise two years of private funding to cover operating expenses by Feb. 15. Estimated savings to restructure UAA Athletics by eliminating these sports is more than $2 million and is part of an effort to close the gap on UAA’s $7.2 million budget reduction for fiscal year ’22.

The regents reinstated Alpine skiing at their January meeting in response to supporters  successfully raising two years of operating expenses. UAA leadership, working in concert with Interim President Pitney, requested the extensions for hockey and gymnastics in response to the tireless fundraising efforts of student-athletes, coaches and alumni, all bolstered by passionate boosters and community supporters, both state- and nationwide, who have mobilized to raise funds.

The outpouring of support for the gymnastics and hockey teams has inspired hope in the possibility these athletic programs may yet survive and thrive at UAA, provided fundraising goals are met. For gymnastics, that means raising $444,000 by June 30, 2021 to cover the 2021-2022 athletic season. Reinstatement beyond 2021-2022 means supporters must raise an additional year of operating expenses by June 30, 2022.

Hockey will pause for a year to allow for planning, recruitment, scheduling and — most importantly — a move toward a self-sustaining and community-supported model. Supporters must raise $3 million in funds by Aug. 30, 2021, covering two years of operating expenses. To date, they have raised $1,563,183.

The fundraising success of both sports is critical in order to ensure Title IX compliance.

We celebrate this progress with our student-athletes, coaches and alumni and express our heartfelt gratitude for the community support breathing new life into these sports programs. There is work yet to be done, but we are moving forward with confidence it can be accomplished.

Additionally, the regents also approved UAA’s revised mission statement, updated as part of UAA 2025, the university’s strategic plan.

A news release summarizing the board meeting will be posted tomorrow on the UA Public Affairs website. You can also visit the Board Docs website for the board’s agenda and supporting documents. You will also find official meeting minutes on the board’s website.

Sincerely,
Bruce Schultz
UAA Interim Chancellor

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