BEMIDJI, Minn. — As part of a proposed reorganization plan for the Bemidji State University Department of Athletics, Bemidji State Director of Athletics Dr. Rick Goeb today announced a University proposal to discontinue men’s indoor and outdoor track and field as varsity intercollegiate sports, effective at the end of the 2008-09 academic year.
The proposal to discontinue men’s indoor and outdoor track and field is a significant portion of the Department of Athletics’ response to a February, 2007 directive by Bemidji State University President Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard to reduce the University’s direct financial contribution to the department by $750,000 over a three-year period. That directive was part of a $5 million University-wide budgetary restructuring initiative.
Earlier efforts by the Department of Athletics to meet its obligation to reduce $750,000 in direct financial contributions from the University included a $2.5 million fundraising campaign to support its NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey program, an increase in the student athletic fee, ticket price increases for men’s hockey, which included charges for student tickets and a department-wide initiative to require all student athletes to be self-insured in order to compete.
Bemidji State University’s men’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Under the reorganization proposal, the University would continue to sponsor women’s cross country, women’s indoor track and field and women’s outdoor track and field, which also compete in the NSIC.
“At this time, this is a proposal,” Goeb said. “We remain committed to the student athletes in the track and field and cross country programs, and this proposal would provide the department with more opportunities to fund its remaining programs at a higher level.”
The proposal to discontinue men’s indoor and outdoor track and field would affect participation opportunities for approximately 30 student-athletes.
“This reorganization proposal also would move us closer to our department’s participation goals,” Goeb said. “In any reorganization proposal, we’re mindful of our commitment to gender equity.”
The proposal to discontinue men’s indoor and outdoor track and field would leave Bemidji State University with a 15-sport varsity intercollegiate athletic program. Bemidji State would have 13 sports competing at the NCAA Division II level and NCAA Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey.