MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It was a year ago that the University of Minnesota eliminated three men’s sports in a cost-cutting move.
Gymnastics, tennis, and indoor track and field were cut, but alumni from those sports are hopeful they’ll be brought back.
“A year later we are here and we are not letting it go away,” said Brad Madson, former University of Minnesota tennis player.
They were U of M athletes during their playing days. Now, dozens of alumni have formed a different kind of team.
“Just disappointed in the prioritization of a couple sports at the expense of a lot of Olympic sports,” said Dan Humes, track and field alumni.
This summer, athletes from the men’s gymnastics, tennis, and indoor track and field teams created the Minnesota Athletics Alliance, with the goal of getting their sports reinstated.
Friday morning the group showed up at a Board of Regents meeting, with the hope of being heard.
“We’ve not had any conversations with them. We’ve reached out and we haven’t heard anything in return,” said Brian Meeker, gymnastics alumni.
Representatives from each of these sports believe they have the funding to bring their programs back with little cost to the U of M.
“Tennis has a self-funding program already. We have $1.5 million already in the bank and a lot of money in terms of community. We just need a chance,” said Madson.
Supporters point to Olympic athletes who’ve come from non-revenue sports. Most recently, former Gopher gymnast Shane Wiskus who competed in this year’s Olympics. Last year, U of M administrators said the decision to make the cuts were difficult with Covid, Title IX, and financial concerns as the main reasons. During Friday’s meeting, Regent Ken Powell talked about the cuts.
“We went through the difficult process and we made the call and that was a year ago. I think we are very much focused on moving on,” said Powell.
But the alliance isn’t ready to do that just yet.
“We want to work on a plan to reinstate the programs. Right now we are not being given an avenue,” said Meeker.
Supporters of the sports say a number of non-revenue athletic programs have been brought back at other universities across the country.
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