Budget cuts loom over sports programs across Wisconsin

By Garrett Aleckson —

The budget cuts proposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have been a hot topic in much of the political discourse in recent months. The budget, which is proposing $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin System, has forced universities across Wisconsin to look at everything in order to comply with the proposed cuts. Although the budget has not yet been put into effect, some universities have started making cuts to sports programs.

University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and University of Wisconsin–River Falls are among some of the universities that have started looking at sports programs to cut. River Falls is currently looking at cutting their women’s golf and tennis teams. Oshkosh, on the other hand, announced that it would cut at least two programs, effective after the 2015-2016 academic year.

The two programs Oshkosh will be cutting are the men’s soccer and tennis teams. Oshkosh will also combine the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams into one team.

University of Wisconsin–Stout has been taking a different approach to the cuts. Although they are making plans, nothing has been announced since they are waiting on the state legislature.

Athletic Director, Duey Naatz says that they have made some plans, but there is not much to be said about what will happen yet.

“Along with the other athletic departments in the WIAC, we are all looking at everything and evaluating everything to come up with the best solutions. We have done the 5-10-15% potential cut planning like the rest of our campus, but beyond that we know very little so have made no decisions as of yet,” said Naatz.

In regards to any other schools cutting sports programs, Naatz said that is hard to predict what they will do right now.

“Each campus is in a different place financially, so there will be differences in how the different schools deal with the potential cuts across the UW System,” said Naatz.

It’s unfortunate that students across the state have to worry about how the proposed budget cuts will affect us. As for the upcoming decision, Naatz says that they will do their best to make Stout a better place for everyone, saying:

“Any decisions made will involve discussions to make the best decisions for the campus, athletics and the student body as a whole. We will do our part to continue to make UW-Stout a better place for the students and their experiences in spite of the state budget cuts.”

The good news for student athletes here at Stout is that Naatz says that cutting sports has not been a part of the discussion.

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