This academic year will likely encompass the final collegiate seasons of skiing and indoor track and field in the state of Alaska, as a result of Strategic Pathways.
University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen released that the university system submitted a waiver request to the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Oct. 19 for the discontinuation of men’s and women’s Nordic and alpine skiing at UAA and UAF, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field at UAA.
Per NCAA rules, schools in Division II must be competing in a minimum of 10 sports. The request Johnsen and UA has submitted is to cut the number of sports at UAA from 13 to nine and from 10 to eight at UAF.
According to UAA Athletic Director Keith Hackett, this decision will slice off 42 percent of the athletic budget cuts required, contributing around $1.95 million toward the budget reduction.
In an email message to the university system on Oct. 27, Johnsen stressed that this decision has not been an easy one.
“I love everything about the competitive nature of sports, I respect the men and women who compete as a Nanook or a Seawolf,” Johnsen said. “I can promise that we will do everything we can to ease the transition we all will face.”
Approximately 95 athletes overall, not including the coaching and support stats, will be impacted by the waver request, if it is accepted by the NCAA, who will meet in November to determine the outcome of the request. If accepted, the proposal will then move to the Board of Regents for final approval.