GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota will continue to sponsor the 20 sports it currently offers, although the fate of men's golf and baseball remains uncertain, the school's president said.
The Grand Forks school announced in April it would no longer offer men's golf and baseball programs due to state budget cuts, then reinstated golf in August after the program secured the necessary $144,400 in funding for the fiscal years 2017 and 2018. But the athletics department ended the fiscal year with a shortfall of about $1.4 million, prompting President Mark Kennedy to ask a committee to examine the school's overall athletics program, including the number of sports and the cost of the programs.
Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday that the committee recommended retaining all 20 sports currently offered, and he concurred. Priority will be given to high-profile sports such as hockey, football and basketball.
"We will do everything possible to prudently support the programs that attract a wide audience," Kennedy said.
The decision does not reinstate the baseball program, and Kennedy said the long-term fate of the golf program will depend on the program meeting future fundraising targets.
The committee's recommendation includes reviewing contracts with Ralph Engelstad Arena and the Alerus Center, raising ticket prices and increasing student fees.
Kennedy said "the advisability of increased ticket prices when attendance for most sports is below capacity needs to be examined." A student fee increase ultimately would have to be approved by students.