SBD/May 16, 2013/Colleges

UNC-Wilmington Athletics Review Calls For Program To Eliminate Five Sports

The Intercollegiate Athletics Review Committee at the Univ. of North Carolina-Wilmington yesterday recommended that the school "no longer sponsor teams in men's and women's swimming and diving, men's indoor track, men's cross country and softball beginning in the 2013-14 academic year," according to Brian Mull of the Wilmington STAR NEWS. A UNCW spokesperson said the final decision on the recommendations will be reached in the "coming weeks." The decision requires "approval of the chancellor and the Board of Trustees." UNCW Chancellor Gary Miller "appointed the committee in February, asking it to identify the optimal sports portfolio" at the school. UNCW's 19-team athletics department is "in a financial predicament and in dire need of upheaval" due to "instability in leadership, a struggling flagship men's basketball program, insufficient fundraising, northern expansion of the Colonial Athletic Association and aging facilities." Cutting the five sports would "eventually release 15.36 athletic scholarships and, over time, enable the department to reinvest nearly $900,000 in the remaining 14 programs, imperative considering expenses have exceeded revenues" by more than $1.4M the last three years. The athletic department's "reserve fund has decreased" by 82% since '09 and is approximately $2M short of the minimum six-month operating balance for programs sponsored by student fees." Donations to the Seahawk Club, UNCW's athletics fundraising arm, are "anticipated to be $400,000 to $500,000 shy" of the budgeted $1.047M in '12-13. The cuts would bring UNCW's total to a Division I-minimum 14 sports for the '13-14 school year (Wilmington STAR NEWS, 5/16).
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