ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico may be forced to eliminate some sports amid budget cut and reduced state funding, school athletic director Paul Krebs told a Board of Regents committee this week.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (https://goo.gl/5VTv1B) Krebs said that slashing some sports from the school is a last option if the athletics department isn’t able to fight off another deficit.
“We’re at a point where some tough decisions are going to have to be made in athletics,” Krebs said.
The department came off a fiscal year 2016 deficit of $1.54 million, and it’s off to a dismal start financially this fiscal year, he said.
That deficit was covered by university reserve funds.
David Harris, the university’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said Wednesday that the college’s “top priority here is to benefit academic programs, not instructional.”
He added: “So we don’t really have the capability to backstop athletics in ways that we have in the past.”
Krebs said department may have reached its revenue generating limit in a struggling New Mexico economy and noted just last week the state legislature decided to cut an additional $140,000 from the university’s current sports budget.
Last year, the department’s $1.54 million hole was largely created by the school’s three traditional revenue generating sports: Football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. All significantly missed budgeted ticket sales projections.
The warning that the university’s sports program could be affected comes are district attorney’s offices and other agencies are seeing a reduction in staff and funding due to a state budget crisis.
New Mexico lawmakers recently passed a revised budget to close an estimated half a billion dollar shortfall.
“Any discussion about eliminating sports is very painful,” Krebs said. “I prefer not to talk about it. I prefer not to have that discussion.”
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com