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shocker: School will drop football
Move being made to cope with state
budget cuts: Officials
By RYAN OLSON
The Daily Mining Gazette
March 18, 2003
HOUGHTON Michigan Tech Universitys 82-year-old
football program is being eliminated in a cost-cutting move, Athletic
Director Rick Yeo announced this morning.
Yeo, in a statement, said the decision to drop the
program was one of the most difficult in his career.
While we are sensitive to the fact that this
will be an unpopular decision in the eyes of many, particularly
those it directly impacts, we are also firm in our beliefs that
this is the best decision for the overall well-being of the athletic
program, Yeo said.
Yeo said there werent a lot of options in the
departments budget. The university is asking all units and
divisions to cut their budgets 10 percent this year, with additional
cuts expected in coming years. The cuts are in response to reductions
in state higher education funding. Tech will lose $5.6 million next
year in state appropriations.
When youre forced to make the significant
budget reductions we were asked to, there really werent a
lot of options, he said. Our programs are already operating
with no room for error and to come up with the cuts we needed to,
eliminating one of our major programs was really the only option.
Athletics department officials didnt return
phone calls late this morning.
Team members said the announcement was completely
Tom Williams, a junior offensive tackle from Freeland,
Mich., said the team was ready for its morning run today when coaches
arrived with the news.
A lot of guys were in tears, WIlliams
Seth Ebel, a senior member of the offensive line and
a captain of next years team, said he is disappointed there
was no warning.
Its hurting a lot of people right now,
more than they know, he said.
Ebel said the decision would affect about 90 students
on the team and about seven coaches.
Tom Wolf, a junior strong safety from Traverse City,
said coaches, including head Coach Bernie Anderson, appeared to
be equally devastated by the decision.
He (Anderson) was fighting back tears and he
was fighting back the same shock and disorientation that we were
experiencing, Wolf said.
Williams said he was disappointed because the team
was looking for a strong season after finishing with a 3-7 record
last year. Williams, an electrical engineering major, said many
teammates didnt know what their future plans will be.
We had our future planned out here we
play at Tech, get a degree and go on with our life, he said.
February was a major deadline for universities to
set their rosters for next year meaning that other universities
cant add Tech players without cutting others. Williams said
coaches have been supportive of players future plans.
Wolf said that hes planning to remain at Tech
to finish his degree in civil engineering.
Thats the one thing I want to do, Wolf said.
Yeo said players with scholarships would continue
to receive their money through graduation, as long as they remain
in good academic standing. When current football scholarships become
available, they could be distributed to other athletes.
Coaches will be allowed to remain on staff through
the end of the year to find other work.
Yeo said Anderson, who has coached Tech football
for 19 years, will be given the opportunity to stay on staff in