A Lifeline for College Teams to Play


On August 19, the university announced it would save about $2.5 million a year by eliminating the gymnastics, hockey and ski teams. The Chancellor at the time, Cathy Sandeen, said the decision was “destructive”.

Ski coach Sparky Anderson was on a father-daughter camping trip when he learned of the offer to split the teams.

“It won’t work,” he thought to himself. “But it will be a lot of work for me.”

One of the surest ways university administrators can incite a revolt is to abolish sport. Wounded in court at the State of Iowa and Michigan. Brown’s target a well-coordinated campaign It was something that political strategists could envy. One of the most respected programs in all of college athletics, Stanford faced months of public and private pressure before it. Reversed his plan to eliminate 11 teams.

Less than four years after Anderson and others won another battle over athletic funding, a new wave of anger has gripped Alaska. Arriving in 2018, Sandeen was the target of most grunts.

“Right away the phones started ringing,” said Kathie Bethard, a former support club president whose son plays hockey at the UAA. Skiing has taken root here. My God, the two main winter sports and cut them? It’s like, ‘Are you kidding? This is Alaska.”

An athletic program with a national footprint, he continued, is what differentiates a university like Alaska Anchorage from a community college.

Like-minded people surrounded the regents with calls and emails. Sandeen, president of California State University in East Bay, reminded that the uprising was “pretty early” when Alaska officials began looking for a way to save the sport.


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