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UW-Oshkosh will cut two athletic programs

UW-Oshkosh chancellor, Dr. Andrew Leavitt, speaks at a news conference regarding the announcement of cutting two athletic programs in response to state budget cuts. (WLUK/Chris Bourassa)
UW-Oshkosh chancellor, Dr. Andrew Leavitt, speaks at a news conference regarding the announcement of cutting two athletic programs in response to state budget cuts. (WLUK/Chris Bourassa)
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OSHKOSH - The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is cutting its men's soccer and men's tennis programs.The school's chancellor claims it's because of expected state budget cuts, but also concedes the lack of other schools to compete against makes a difference.You can read the full announcement from UW-Oshkosh here.For players like Daniel Kobin, who's been on the men's soccer team for the last four years, the news of his team being cut is hard to believe."I don't think many of us saw this coming. We're still in shock and still trying to figure out what's going on," said Kobin.UW-Oshkosh says the teams have one year left."How we got to men's soccer and men's tennis was the fact that neither of them have a conference championship status and an automatic qualifier status," said UW-Oshkosh Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Darryl Sims.The number of schools participating in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference when it comes to men's soccer and men's tennis has dropped.Here's the straight story:During the 2014 season, five conference schools participated in men's Division III soccer. Those schools are UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-Superior, UW-Whitewater and Finlandia University, which is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.Superior is already set to leave the conference, and WIAC requires fives schools to participate in order to be considered a championship sport."Finlandia basically left us as well so there's only three school's left in our conference," Sims said.As for tennis, UW-Oshkosh says only four schools are left in that conference.In a statement, the men's tennis coach, Daniel Bickett, said, "It's a very unfortunate situation but hopefully this will put the university in a better financial standing and allow the other programs to continue to flourish."UW-Oshkosh says it needs to cut now, ahead of expected cuts in the next two-year state budget. Gov. Scott Walker proposed cutting $300 million from the UW System. The Oshkosh campus could lose up to $8 million.Right now, it's just a proposal and could be changed."We know it's coming and it's prudent for us to be prepared for it," said UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.The league's commissioner said he's sad to see Oshkosh men's tennis and soccer teams get the boot, but does not believe the losses will significantly impact the conference.Here's a look at the facts from the university's perspective of how much money the college might save eliminating the sports:
  • The university says by eliminating men's soccer, it'll save nearly $61,000.
  • Eliminating men's tennis will save almost $11,000.
  • But the biggest savings, according to the the university, will be $81,000 from combining the track and field and cross country teams.
All those numbers add up to $153,000 against a total athletic annual budget, UW-Oshkosh indicates, of nearly $1.3 million."We had three people doing the job of two. We knew that years ago and it was something that we away speculated on and combining at some point," Sims said.What that means, is the men's and women's cross country teams will now have one coach, and one coach for the men's and women's track team. That third coaching position would be eliminated.The cuts will bring UWO more in line with Title IX, which is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender in schools that receive federal funding.Based on enrollment from this past school year, UW-Oshkosh says 42 percent of its athletes were women and 58 percent were men.While Title IX does not require 50-50 participation, after phasing out the men's soccer and tennis programs, the numbers provided by the university are: 44-percent women and 55-percent men.