UAA gymnastics meets fundraising threshold for reinstatement of 2021-22 season

by Green & Gold News  |   

Team is clear to start competing this winter while working toward next fundraising goal

Interim Chancellor Bruce Schultz announced at today’s University of Alaska Board of Regents meeting that the University of Alaska Anchorage gymnastics team has met the fundraising goal necessary to reinstate its 2021-22 season.

“I am proud of the dedication our student-athletes, coaches and staff have shown throughout this process,” said Schultz. “There are still fundraising goals to be met, but I believe this milestone is a testament to the widespread community support for Seawolf Athletics. We are humbled by the outpouring of support for our student-athletes and can’t wait to see our gymnasts compete this winter."

In August 2020, UAA announced the decision to eliminate men’s hockey, women’s gymnastics and men’s and women’s skiing from the Seawolf Athletics roster. UAA’s state funding has been reduced by $34 million since fiscal year ’14. The reductions to UAA Athletics are estimated to produce savings of more than $2 million as part of an effort to close the gap on UAA’s $7.2 million budget reduction for fiscal year ’22.

In September 2020, the Board of Regents voted to discontinue hockey, gymnastics and Alpine skiing unless the teams could raise two years of private funding to cover operating expenses by Feb. 15. However, in February 2021, the board passed two motions to extend the fundraising deadlines for the hockey and gymnastics teams, allowing for automatic reinstatement if fundraising targets are met. The Alpine skiing team met its fundraising goal in January 2021 and has been reinstated by the board. For gymnastics, the goal for reinstatement involved raising private funds and decreasing program expenses to achieve a $444,000 reduction for the 2021-22 season. As of Tuesday, June 1, the confirmed total was $445,782.

“I'm beyond proud of my student-athletes and staff who have worked incredibly hard over the last 266 days despite significant adversity, and I want to thank all of our supporters and donors, as this wouldn't have been possible without them,” said Marie-Sophie Boggasch, gymnastics head coach. “Nevertheless, we would like to express the urgency of continuing to donate to ensure our existence beyond next season.”

This milestone is an important first step for gymnastics, but fundraising efforts will continue in order to assure the long-term sustainability of the program. Boggasch said the team has already secured about one-third of the donations to meet next year’s deadline but still needs to secure approximately $323,000 by June 30, 2022.

"Our coaches and gymnasts made this happen out of passion and commitment to their sport and UAA,” said UAA Director of Athletics Greg Myford. “Obviously, their efforts were rewarded by many generous supporters in our community, as well as the gymnastics community near and far. The result is that we all get to enjoy watching our Seawolf gymnasts compete this year and continue representing UAA in a first-class manner.”

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