FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The men’s hockey programs at Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks won’t be going anywhere for the 2020-21 season.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents met Friday and confirmed that no cuts would be made to the schools’ athletic programs next school year.
Along with Bemidji State, UAA and UAF are members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. BSU and six other WCHA schools announced in June that they would leave the league after the 2020-21 season to form a new conference. The Alaska schools and Alabama Huntsville were not included in those plans.
“It was stated and affirmed that we would have athletics at UAA and UAF,” UAF director of athletics Keith Champagne told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday. “Same sports as this year, same everything.”
“This is great news for the hockey programs at both UAA and UAF and for the WCHA,” WCHA President and Men’s League Commissioner Bill Robertson said in a statement Saturday. “We are pleased that the Men’s League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will remain at 10 teams in 2020-21.”
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy had vetoed $130 million in state funding for the university system earlier this year, but fortunately for the schools and their athletic programs, the cuts have turned out to be much less. The system saw a $25 million budget cut for this year and another $25 million cut for next year.
The future for the athletic programs beyond next year, however, remains uncertain.
Regents told the schools Friday to provide detailed financial statements for their athletic departments, along with projected revenue from sponsors and donors. A decision on the future of athletics beyond 2020-21 is expected in early 2020, the Daily News reported.