The University of North Dakota athletics department faces a $1.4 million dollar budget shortfall. The new university president, Mark Kennedy, is looking to make potentially drastic decisions regarding athletics. In an open letter to the UND community, Kennedy states, “(We will) examine UND Athletics to make sure we have an athletics program that best fits the University of North Dakota in terms of a number of factors, including the sports we participate in, conference participation, the number of athletes that we serve, and the cost of the programs.”
While new President Kennedy emphasized that he is ‘pro-sports’, he wrested budget management from the athletic director, Brian Faison, directly to the University Associate Vice President of Finance. While program cuts will be recommended by the elected Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC), this group will be chaired by the University Senate and University Planning. So, it looks like the athletic director Faison can take that much needed family vacation.
Earlier this year, the University administration fired the radio broadcasters without advising athletics department and had to do an about-face and rehire hockey announcer favorite Tim Hennessy and his counterpart, Paul Ralston, who does play-by-play for UND Hoops.
All of this led to a scathing column in the Grand Forks Herald by writer Tom Miller citing the lack of transparency and availability to the media by President Kennedy to answer questions. The article called the University President a ‘no show’ in his first big moment.
“He (Kennedy) doesn’t have anything further to say beyond the message,” a UND spokesman said.