Legislature lessens cuts to UAA, athletic department still in limbo
The season may be over for University of Alaska Anchorage Athletics Director Keith Hackett, but he’s already planning his teams for next year.
“We had some great crowds in this building last year for volleyball,” he said as he looked at the new ad for his volleyball team. That’s not the only thing that has Hackett excited.
State lawmakers approved a budget that restored more money for UAA, and in extension the sports teams. A proposal early in the legislative session called for a $50-million cut in state funds for the university. Hackett spoke publicly for the first time on how that could have impacted his department.
“I was instructed that what we needed to prepare for was a $1.7-million reduction from the athletics budget,” said Hackett, who just wrapped up his third year running the athletics office.
The final number will now be determined after lawmakers approved a much smaller $15-million cut to the university system earlier this week. It will likely be sometime in the fall before they know how much money athletics will lose for the third straight year.
But the problems don’t end there. The Strategic Pathways Committee will review all of the athletic programs over the summer and will determine what teams remain at UAA. The final decision is expected in September or October, and will not take effect until the start of the 2017-18 season.
“There’s going to be change,” Hackett told KTVA Sports as he prepared for next season.
The good news is he will likely have a little more money to spend than he was originally planning for.
KTVA 11’s Dave Leval can be reached via email.
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