UAA Ski Team’s Alpine Contingent Forced To Raise Two Year’s Operating Costs By February To Survive
Anchorage, AK - The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved a massive budget cut to the University of Alaska-Anchorage athletics department and eliminated two and half sports. NCAA hockey, gymnastics, and half the ski team were axed from sponsorship effective June 2021. UAA plans to keep a Nordic event grouping for now.
This decision has national implications as colleges slash Olympic sports across the country. What is happening in remote Alaska could be a model for other universities that sponsor sports like Skiing in the Pac 12, Ivy League, and Big Sky conferences.
The UA Regents and UAA Chancellor did provide a lifeline. Sports on the chopping block could be reinstated if they are able to raise two years of operating costs by February. For skiing, that amounts to a total of $628,000 dollars by Feb 1st, 2021. Exactly half, $314,000 of the total, needs to be delivered in cash. The second $314K can be in pledges.
While it is unclear what Hockey and Gymnastics plan to do, the ski team has developed and rolled out a plan they are calling “The 314 Initiative.” This plan uses a website to seek out and retain 314 individuals, entities, or groups willing to give a $1000 donation this fall, and pledge to do the same next fall. Details of this plan can be found at www.314er.com
Athletes, coaches, and community affected by the outcome of this decision are personally reaching out to secure support and funding. For many in Alaska, loosing the Alpine component of UAA’s ski team would have devastating consequences, effectively ending FIS (higher level ski racing) competitions in Alaska.