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The Bismarck Tribune
GRAND FORKS - University of North Dakota coaches and athletes are quietly fretting this week about the future of their programs.
UND is expected to announce cuts to athletics teams this week - though no specific announcement date had been set as of Monday afternoon, according to UND spokesman Peter Johnson.
UND is in the midst of campuswide, state-mandated budget cuts due to a drop in funding from the state.
UND President Mark Kennedy asked the athletic department to cut $1.3 million out of its budget.
Athletics programs have been operating for more than a year now wondering if their teams were going to be cut.
Last April, just three days after UND won a men's hockey national championship, it announced that it was cutting baseball and men's golf. It later revived men's golf as long as it hits certain fundraising goals.
Then, in August, Kennedy formed a committee in August to re-examine all aspects of the athletics program, including the number of sports sponsored.
After a two-month process, the committee recommended keeping all 20 sports and Kennedy accepted that recommendation, saying it was the only time in his tenure that they would consider sports.
But three months later, Kennedy opened the door again to cutting sports because of a gloomy revenue forecast from the state.
Kennedy told the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee in October that UND was committed to keeping 12 sports - men's and women's hockey, men's and women's basketball, football, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, men's and women's cross-country, and volleyball.
It is unlikely that UND would cut a Big Sky Conference core sport - which covers everything except men's and women's hockey, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's golf, women's soccer and softball.
The Big Sky says UND never asked if it could cut a core sport for its final year in the league.
"While such conversation has never taken place, it is a Conference requirement for all full members to participate in all core sports," Big Sky associate commissioner Ron Loghry said in an interview.. "To fail to do so - even in its final year in the Conference - could render all UND teams ineligible for Conference championships."
UND will move to the Summit League for all sports except hockey and football in 2018.
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