It is hard to believe that the Nevada Wolfpack football team that has been to four straight bowl games and finished with their best season ever in 2010 by going 13-1, beat Boise State, received an invite to join the Mountain West and finished ranked 13th in the coaches poll and 11th in the AP poll might drop from division one due to budget cuts.
This is per the Reno-Gazette Journal:
The cuts, which are part of a proposed $59 million university-wide budget reduction at UNR, could threaten Nevada's ability to maintain Division I status or force the department to cut another sport. The reduction is contingent on the state legislature's final higher education budget and board of regents deliberations.
"I would say maintaining the integrity of a Division I program is our main focus right now," Groth said. "We're right on the line of a few things as is."
In the past three years, the Wolf Pack's state-appropriated funds have decreased from $7.054 million to an estimated $3.817 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
To maintain D-I status, Groth said Nevada has to award at least $4 million annually in scholarships. The Pack currently spends $4.6 million, and Groth said she doesn't want to get too close to the $4 million minimum."We're pretty close to the edge as is and scholarships fluctuate every year so if you get too close you put yourself in a potentially bad situation," Groth said.
Cutting sports, or scholarships, is the first option to help reduce the athletic budget and Nevada recently cut men's and women's skiing following the 2009-2010 season. The option to cut sports are limited as Nevada has the minimum amount of men's sports which is at six and one above the minimum for woman's sports at eight.
The dropping of the ski team provides a savings of $400,000 per year in travel, but any member of the ski team who was on scholarship when the sport was cut still receives that amount until they graduate. That savings will not be seen for a few years down the line.
The easiest option would be to drop one of the woman's sports to save money but then there would be issues with Title IX. One option that is being mulled is to increase student fees to $2 to $4.15 per credit which according to the university would bring in approximately $200,000 a year.
The athletic budget needs to make up anywhere from $500,000 to $1.5 million and even with dropping the ski team and increasing student fees would not even bring in a million dollars.
I don't think Nevada will drop down to from division one status, but looking at the current situation it looks iffy for them to maintain division one status. So, the Mountain West could be back to nine football playing members if Nevada drops below division one.