The 2016/2017 season will be the final season of NCAA-sanctioned collegiate skiing in the state of Alaska. The Alaska Dispatch News reported late Thursday that University of Alaska (UA) President Jim Johnsen announced the eliminations in a Thursday afternoon press conference on the University of Alaska Anchorage conference.
As FasterSkier previously reported, the UA president and Board of Regents were pursuing a waiver with the NCAA, which would allow the UA system to operate with fewer than the 10 sports teams typically required for Division II membership.
Johnsen announced Thursday that “Skiing at [University of Alaska Anchorage] and [University of Alaska Fairbanks] and indoor track at UAA are the sports targeted for elimination in a waiver request submitted to the NCAA,” the Alaska Dispatch wrote.
The Alaska Dispatch quoted UAA head ski coach (nordic and alpine) Sparky Anderson as saying, “We were told it’s a fait accompli.”
The announcement precedes by approximately two weeks the next meeting of the UA Board of Regents, to be held on Nov. 10-11. The UAA and UAF ski teams begin their final season in a suddenly bittersweet dual meet to be held at Fairbanks’s Birch Hill ski area the following weekend.
Skiing was the first sport founded at UAA, in 1977.
FasterSkier will provide further coverage of this story soon.