GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The University of North Dakota Athletics Department announced on Tuesday that it will discontinue its varsity baseball and men’s golf programs, effective following the 2015-16 season, as part of the University’s overall budget restructuring process.
Through expense reductions and revenue increases, the UND Athletics Department will see an estimated 2.4 million dollar budget impact for 2016-17. The decision announced today was reached based upon forecasted state revenue shortfalls, conference core sport sponsorship requirements, and Title IX compliance.
“There are realities to the amount of funding the state can provide. In fact, all of our revenue sources will be under pressure for the foreseeable future. This requires us to focus, to prioritize, to plan and to make the tough decisions,” said University Interim President Edward T. Schafer.
UND Athletics will honor all athletics scholarships at their present equivalencies for returning student-athletes in the affected sports. In addition, UND Athletics will assist all student-athletes who desire to transfer to another institution if they wish to continue their playing careers.
UND Athletics Director Brian Faison met with the UND baseball and men’s golf staff and student-athletes on Tuesday afternoon to inform them of the decision.
“This is the hardest decision we’ve had to make as a department and that I’ve ever had to make in my career,” said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison. “UND Athletics is a part of the University and we have to do what is in the long-term best interests of the University, as well as the athletics department.”
The estimated $2.4 million budget impact for UND Athletics in 2016-17 consists of $1.5 million in revenue increases and $886,568 in expense reduction. By reducing its number of varsity programs, UND Athletics will see a departmental cost savings of approximately $720,000 in operating budgets and salaries.
UND baseball played its first game in 1889 and, after hiatuses from 1917-19 (World War I) and from 1921-55, ushered in the program’s modern era in 1956. It is currently in its third year as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Men’s golf became a varsity sport at UND in 1929 and is currently in its second season of Big Sky Conference membership.