Questions looming over UNM sports cuts

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The fallout and questions surrounding the Earth-shattering decision to cut four University of New Mexico teams continue to grow. 

Through this whole process, there have been a lot of numbers thrown out.  So which numbers are correct?

“This was a very difficult, difficult decision for myself the President to make a recommendation that knows that we’re affecting the lives, not just of student-athletes but coaches,” said Eddie Nunez, Athletic Director of UNM. 

Thursday was not an easy day for UNM Athletics and the four teams cut from the school. Both Men’s and Women’s Ski teams, Beach Volleyball, and Men’s Soccer have been cut. 

“For those who believe that cutting sports is an easy out, nothing could be further from the truth,” said President of UNM Garnett Stokes.

UNM announced they need to save $1.9 million in reductions, but the cuts aren’t sitting well with the teams and the community.

“There’s got to be another way to solve this problem,” said former Ski coach George Brooks.  

The teams are questioning the amount of money actually being saved. 

“Give or take, your saving about 18 thousand dollars a year, by taking out Beach Volleyball out of the $1.9 million needed to break even with our athletic program,” said Lauren Twitty with UNM Volleyball. 

The university administration said they will save $62,000 in Beach Volleyball.

The four sports program all together being cut will save about $1.1 million, but what about the other $800,000 to get to the $1.9 million winning number?

“We wanted to get to $1.9 million, that… well, you see what happened today, you could imagine what would happen to get to $1.9 million,” said Stokes. 

So, they are going to make reductions in other areas, to not cut any more teams. 

“We discovered in the course of doing all of this work, that we have many opportunities for shared services,” said the President.  

Some of those additional savings they anticipate will come from increased ticket sales and revenue from facilities, sponsorships and restructuring the Lobo Club.

“It remains to be seen just what we’ll need to do to fill that gap but we have multiple opportunities to do that. And I’m not worried about our ability to do it,” said Stokes. 

Stokes said that long list of shared services they are banking on to make up for the extra savings adds up to about $600,000. That still doesn’t get them to the number they need.

UNM told KRQE News 13 these cuts are just to make sure the sports department doesn’t get deeper in debt. 

Currently, the athletic department owes $4.7 million.
 

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