After dodging a round of cuts in the Fall, the University of North Dakota, coming off its best season is years, appears headed to the memory bank.
In a move sure to prompt a gender-equity lawsuit, the athletic department expects to eliminate women's hockey. Moreover, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams were informed shortly before a 3:30 pm (CDT) press conference that they would be eliminated. The reasons cited for the elimination included Summit League scholarship requirements and the desire to reinvest in championship success.
The cuts not only eliminate a historically successful program, but are also expected to negatively impact the state's overall finances. In November an economic study of the teams showed that swimming and diving:
- Added $6 Million to the North Dakota economy through taxes paid by alumni who had come from out of state;
- Produced revenue 26% more revenue for the university over their budget.
- Led the entire athletic department in terms of community service; and
- Led the entire athletic department academically based on team GPA and APR.
In addition to the heartbreak incurred by the student-athletes, the move will leave UND Head Coach Chris Maiello without a job just a month after his wife gave birth to twins.
Updates to follow: