Bemidji State University announces decision regarding men’s track and field

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Dr. Rick Goeb announced today that men’s varsity intercollegiate indoor and outdoor track and field would continue to be sponsored at the University through the 2009-10 academic year.

In October, the University unveiled a restructuring plan for the Department of Athletics that included, in part, a proposal to discontinue men’s indoor and outdoor track and field at the conclusion of the 2008-09 academic year.

Following a comprehensive review of available options, Bemidji State President Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard sought and received input on the original proposal. The University has established an alternative solution that would allow the continuation of men’s indoor and outdoor track and field beyond spring 2009.

“The goals that were laid out for the athletic department in the original announcement of our restructuring proposal remain unchanged,” Goeb said. “However, based on the feedback we obtained since that announcement, we may be able to achieve those goals in a different manner.”

“I’m just very happy and relieved,” head track and field coach Craig Hougen said following today’s announcement. “I feel that we’re going in the right direction, and now it’s time to get back to work building this great program. It’s time to get after recruiting and look forward to next year.”

Continuation of men’s indoor and outdoor track and field beyond spring 2010 will require that private fund-raising goals are met, ongoing department-wide pursuit of the University’s athletic participation goals is assured, and that additional steps are taken to improve the overall competitive position of the University’s NCAA Division II sport programs.

While specific details are still being finalized, goals to be met in order to ensure the long-term stability of the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs include:
• fundraising to hire an assistant coach, with a focus on expanding the women’s track and field and cross country programs.
• a comprehensive roster-management effort for the Department of Athletics affecting most, if not all, Division II athletic programs.
• a focus on expanding participation opportunities for female student athletes.
• a continued emphasis on competitiveness for all Division II athletic programs.

Economic conditions in the state of Minnesota, and how those conditions impact funding levels at Bemidji State University, will continue to be closely monitored and will play a role in any decision regarding men’s track and field beyond spring 2010.

“Depending on the economic conditions at the University, we might find ourselves in position to revisit this decision again in the future,” Goeb added. “The challenge here is about more than men’s track. I expect Bemidji State University athletics to be competitive in whatever we do. The University wants all of our student-athletes to have the opportunity to be successful on the field.”

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. Including men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, Bemidji State sponsors 15 sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level, and sponsors NCAA Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey.