Media release | University of Hawaii-Hilo, Sports Information Office
University of Hawaii at Hilo Director of Athletic Dexter Irvin announced today the 2-year suspension of three programs as part of an effort to reduce its budget while maintaining the viability of the department.
On the table are men’s and women’s cross country and cheerleading.
The savings of approximately $100,000 in operational, salary and scholarship funding per academic year will be added to a 10-percent operational savings Irvin established at the beginning of the fiscal year.
“We’ve been able to stay in the black for the past two years but like everyone else we also need to cut back,” said Irvin. “We looked at many scenarios but felt that this move would have the least affect on our student/athletes’ academic opportunities and our program’s competitiveness.”
During the 2010-11 seasons, 120 athletes were on athletic scholarship. Six belonged to the cross country program.
“These scholarships will not be affected,” said Irvin. “We will honor our commitment to their academic success here at UH Hilo.”
Among the challenges Irvin faces in his second year at UH Hilo are the increasing cost of travel and education while trying to balance a budget that is currently funded below the NCAA Division II national average.
“We are part of a 7-percent decrease in scholarships as well as a probable 7-percent decrease in our operational funding,” said Irvin. “We have made significant reductions in many programs and we cannot continue to make overall program reductions without sacrificing student/athlete welfare and well being,”
Cross Country was started in the 1980s. Under similar fiscal conditions, the programs were suspended during the 1989 and 1990 seasons before being re-instated during the 1991 season. During the 20-year stretch since, the Vulcans claimed three conference championships and were consistent participants of post-season races.
“Coach (Jaime) Guerpo had done an excellent job in recruiting this upcoming season so it is very painful for him and for us,” said Irvin. “We look forward to the time we can revisit the opportunity for our cross country programs.”
Vulcan athletics consists of six women’s sports (basketball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball) and five men’s sports (baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis). Nine of the 11 sports participate as members of the Pacific West Conference while women’s golf and men’s tennis will gain membership beginning the 2012-13 seasons.
NOTE: Vulcan Athletics will be submitting an application for a PacWest waiver in cross country.