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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — UNCW will not cut any sports teams, despite the recommendation of a committee report commissioned by Chancellor Gary Miller.

Miller announced at a news conference this morning that the university will continue all 19 of its sports programs. The announcement was met with a huge ovation from the audience at the Burney Center on campus, many of whom were members of the five teams on the chopping block.

“Eliminating any sports program is a last resort,” Miller said before announcing the retention of the programs.

Miller said he reached his decision after discussions with community leaders and people across the country.

“It’s clear to me from these discussions that there’s a great passion for Seahawks athletics,” Miller said.

Miller, though, said the 19-team athletic program cannot be maintained without a strong community support system, sponsorship and donations.

“The question is not whether we get rid of sports, but rather if we continue, is there enough passion in this community to sustain?” Miller said.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Review Committee had recommended cutting five programs from the university’s athletics department: men’s cross country, men’s indoor track, men’s and women’s swimming and softball.

Stay with WWAY NewsChannel 3 for much more on this developing story, including reaction from student-athletes and the community tonight on WWAY NewsChannel 3 at 5, 5:30 and 6.

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