WILMINGTON, NC. (WWAY) — UNCW Athletics is still reacting to a committee’s recommendation to cut five athletic programs and the idea has caught the attention of some boosters.
Many club members have told WWAY reporters that while they understand the idea, they don’t necessarily agree with it.
Since 2009 the university claims it has used up 82% of the athletic department’s reserve budget.
In the past the school has depended on Seahawk Club donations to support its athletic programs, but as of May 1st the club had only met 44% of its annual goal.
One longtime Seahawk Club member says he knows why.
“In my opinion a lot of the short comings that have fallen on the program is that we don’t go after enough corporate sponsors,” said DJ Urban, a UNCW alum and Seahawk Club member. “You see little things here in there in Trask or in the program, or commercials when you’re listening to the coaches show but we have some giant players here in town and I don’t think we get enough corporate donations.”
Urban and other Seahawk Club members told WWAY off camera that the athletic department depends on the success of its basketball program, but that it wasn’t time for the school to fire coach Buzz Peterson despite his poor record.
“I think it really all starts with basketball,” Urban said. “You like to see all of the programs thrive, and you would like to see all of those athletes get to enjoy the college experience, but basketball is what really brings the money in. You’ve got to turn that program around first.”
In a statement the university says the money saved by cutting men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s cross country, men’s indoor track and softball would be re-invested into the remaining programs.
Many boosters also said that the problems facing the athletic department now are leftover from previous administrations.