The University of New Mexico athletics department could be headed for big cuts, including slashing a number of teams.
The UNM athletics department currently owes the university $4.7 million, money it borrowed to keep its 22 teams afloat amid flagging revenues and large payouts to coaches. Most programs in the UNC’s division currently support around 17 teams.
A 2019 budget proposal presented Tuesday to the Board of Regents didn’t pass muster. UNM president Garnett Stokes told Albuquerque’s KRQE that cuts are inevitable. "We are better off supporting fewer sports, but doing it well than we are stretching ourselves too thin," she said.
In the proposed budget outlined Tuesday, the athletics department says it will pay around $487,000 a year to settle the debt.
"The plan we are presenting includes major cuts to operations within athletics, most of which won't be realized until fiscal year 2020," she said. "My goal, in the long run, is to have athletics earn the respect and support of our faculty, staff, students and the community.
The athletic department hopes to cut over $3 million a year for its debt payments, with about $2 million of those cuts coming from the elimination of sports teams.
"At this point, we owe it to everyone to look at everything from basketball to football to baseball," said athletics director Eddie Nunez, adding that everyone from students to faculty will have a say in how the university proceeds.