U. of Minnesota Makes Athletic Cuts

Thursday, April 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Citing financial problems, University of Minnesota officials recommended Thursday that the school cut three sports and merge the men's and women's athletic departments.

Men's and women's golf and men's gymnastics would end, saving the university an estimated $900,000 annually. University Vice President Tonya Moten Brown, who oversees sports, estimated deficits will approach $21 million in the next five years unless changes are made.

The jobs of men's AD Tom Moe and women's AD Chris Voelz will end in June, with the school planning a nationwide search for one AD. Brown projected $4.4 million in savings over the next five years from combining the departments.

Minnesota has been one of just five universities with separate sports departments.

The recommendations go to the school's board of regents, who meet Friday. Though officials don't need approval for the changes, university President Mark Yudof wants support.

Administrators want to hear from regents by June what the ``appropriate'' level of financial support for sports should be, Yudof said.

The Gophers have had a men's gymnastics team for 99 years. It has won 11 Big Ten titles and had 50 individual conference champions since 1972.

Minnesota's men's golf team has placed among the top 10 in the NCAA tournament seven times since 1942. The women's golf team, formed in 1975, won Big Ten titles in 1978 and 1989.