Photo: New UND President, Mark Kennedy
In a crazy process initiated by University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy, an 18-member committee was formed largely of non-athletic department staff to examine UND’s conference affiliation and the number of athletic teams it sponsors. The purpose of the group was to identify athletic department savings to bridge a $1.4 million dollar shortfall. The common thought was that UND would eliminate 2-4 athletic programs. The committee convened a public hearing, called “pointless” and “demeaning” by the Grand Forks Herald, of coaches and teams who were asked to plead for their survival. The committee revealed their recommendation Tuesday.
Their recommendation – no change.
“I affirm their recommendation for continuing with our current level of support for actively sponsored programs,” Kennedy wrote of the self-appointed committee.
In a third-person statement, Kennedy said, “I have made it clear this is a once-in-a-Kennedy-tenure opportunity to review sports sponsorship,” Kennedy said. “It’s a closed conversation as far as I’m concerned.”
The athletic teams under the microscope can now wipe away the tears and play. And now Kennedy can move on to the next decision-by-committee. Still, betting odds are strong that the Fighting Hawks will be joining the Summit League sometime soon to save on travel costs and build on traditional regional rivalries.
We’re glad that UND’s committee decided not to do the dirty work for their President.