UNK Athletics to cut 3 sports teams

A UNK baseball player warms up before the start of an inning. (KHGI)

A difficult day for the University of Nebraska-Kearney as the school announced cuts across the board to help bridge a $3.4 million budget shortfall. 3 Loper teams baseball, men's golf, and men's tennis ended up on the wrong end of the budget. NTV's Scott Braswell attended today's press conference and has more.

"I think they have a lot of pride of being Lopers," said baseball coach Damon Day. I don't feel like it's going to be out of the realm for them to compete even when we haven't had our most successful seasons, we've always competed and represented this university to the best of their ability. I don't see any reason why they're not going to do that. "

The Loper baseball program wasn’t the only team to get the axe from the UNK athletic department. Men’s golf and men’s tennis will also fade out of existence at the end of the school year.

"We're just at the point where we were making cuts on a regular basis the last few years," said athletic director, Dr. Paul Plinske. "We turned over every stone to try and avoid any of these cuts to all measures possible, but when you're asked to reduce by $450,000 there just isn't any other way to look at it."

Football and basketball was off the chopping block because of conditions put in place by the MIAA, the conference UNK joined in 2012.

"One of the MIAA requirements is to have football, mens and women's basketball, and softball, but for us, that takes football and basketball off the table," said Plinske." We were left with only 3 sports and those were the ones on the table at the end."

The cuts will impact 56 student athletes and 10 incoming freshmen who are now forced to find a new home.

"We're only 6 games into our season so we have to get some questions answered for guys from that standpoint," said Day. "We have to figure out where they can transfer to and all those different types of things. We're going to do the best we can to answer those questions."

The Lopers will play 21 games at Memorial Field this season with their home opener taking place on March 2nd against Central Oklahoma.

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