Sports are being eliminated at three schools, including UW-Green Bay at Sheboygan
Basketball has one home game left (Friday).
And the final season of tennis is already underway.
After the current school year, sports will no longer exist at UW-Green Bay at Sheboygan. Same goes for the Manitowoc and Marinette campuses.
Blame – or credit – UWGB Chancellor Mike Alexander for the decision, which was mostly made because of how student fees were being used.
“I think the narrative that we’re ending athletics on the Sheboygan campus is not true,” he said. “What we are doing is taking the money that (all) students used to pay – a very sizable amount of fees – to schools that were using it to support those teams.
“It was really not helping almost all of the student population.”
Alexander says there is still going to be sports on campus and is working on if there can be a time where students can get together to play them like any other university.
“At lunch when you go in the gym, you’re going to find students in there playing basketball, right?” Alexander said. “The only difference would be we would not have a team that is traveling like the one is now.
“There’s always difficult decisions we have to make, in any situation. You have the resources that you have, and you have to think carefully about how you’re expending those resources for the benefit of everybody involved at the university and the campus.
“We just couldn’t justify this expense based on the number of students and the amount of money that was going in to support that activity. And it didn’t align with what we’re trying to do as a university, which is be a regional university.”
So Alexander is making changes to how student fees will be used, with hopes they will have a “robust intramural and health experience, where they could go work out, have places they can use that is open to any student.”
When asked why eliminate sports though, Alexander said officials always have to look at how schools are using resources to benefit the most number of students possible, before noting the “several hundred dollars” in fees support the basketball team.
“And none of that money was coming back to the students on campus, it was going to support, in essence, one or two teams on the campus,” Alexander said. “There’s a lot of students on the Sheboygan campus, so we thought that money should be used to better support the campus as a whole.”
Because of several internal discussions, Alexander says the decision should not come as a surprise because he has been talking to the campuses for quite some time now about the importance of how UWGB is “proceeding as really one university with four campuses.”
Athletes cannot pay more fees than the rest of the students in order to keep sports, either, because Alexander says he can’t assign different charges to different students.
“We can’t say ‘you’re going to pay X amount, and you’re going to pay X amount’ based on the experience that you have,” he said. “It has to be across the board.”
Student fees will now be used for sports and recreation programs for all Sheboygan students.
Alexander, who has not heard any feedback on his decision, was hired after the schools merged with UWGB. Although he was not there at the time, he thinks it was right to not just end sports on a dime and wanted to do the best to help ease the transition.
“We’re really proud to serve the people of Sheboygan, and I hope they’re really proud that they have a campus that is now growing after many, many years of not,” he said. “And we’re doing all the things we can to continue to serve all the people in our 16-county footprint as UW-Green Bay.”