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Volume 24 No. 113


Budget cuts "will not require the elimination of any sports teams" at the U.S. Air Force Academy, but the athletic department "did not emerge unscathed," according to Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs GAZETTE. The department will "lose 30 positions, including nine assistant coaches, and 10.2 percent (roughly $400,000) of its appropriated tax funds." The "most visible impact of the cuts" for Air Force fans will "come in the form of some programs being unable to travel to certain events and the likely reduction in size of rosters." But the cut in athletic funds "represents a tiny fraction of the total operating budget." Air Force AD Hans Mueh said the budget cuts will not be approached with a "cookie-cutter slice across each sport." Mueh: "We're trying to spread that across all of the sports so that everybody feels a little bit of pain, but we save the essence of the programs and athletic department for the academy." Briggeman notes by "keeping sports in place, the academy hopes to buy time for the Air Force Academy Athletic Corp. -- which gained nonprofit status just eight months ago -- to grow into a strong enough support mechanism to work in concert with tax dollars and provide solid footing for these teams" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 3/5). Briggeman notes the nonprofit Air Force Academy Athletic Corp. was "able to save this past fall's football game at Navy, and now it faces the challenge of raising enough funds to assist athletic teams in maintaining a 'margin of excellence' as budget cuts are about to strip some of these teams of all but the essentials for survival" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 3/5).