Over the course of a two-day workshop in Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Board of Regents discussed many topics surrounding the operating budget for fiscal year 2021. In that budget is operating money for athletic programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Anchorage.

"The last time we had this discussion, the president extended the programs through the spring, through March," Regent Mary Hughes said. "You were wanting to make sure that we understood what was going on and I expected to have the alternatives and the money in front of us."

The board was expecting to vote on athletic programs but UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen and UAF Chancellor Daniel White worked out a solution, much to the chagrin of some of the board members. 

"We have both come to the decision and in concurrence with the president that we're making a commitment to go forward with our 2021 athletic season," Sandeen said. "That's really important to make that decision now because our teams are out, our coaches are out recruiting. Our coaches, teams and athletes need to know about the future and we believe that we have a sustainable model."

According to a release from the university system, the board heard from students, staff and faculty during two hours of public testimony Friday. Some of the issues discussed included concerns about a possible tuition increase, communication, policy changes and leadership.

The board agreed on the adopted $277 million state operating budget request, reflecting a $25 million reduction, which includes funding for athletics. The total budget for fiscal year 2021, including non-state revenue sources, is $831.6 million.

The board delayed a vote to increase tuition for academic year 2021 until they've had more talks with student leaders. 

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