University of Alberta sports teams bracing for changes due to funding cuts

The University of Alberta won’t be cutting any sports programs this fall, but their operations will have to change.

Athletic director Ian Reade said that provincial funding cuts “have been extremely problematic for the Golden Bears and Pandas athletic programs.”

“We made what we thought were pretty significant cuts in December when we had to cut $75,000 out of our program,” he said.

Another $300,000 cut hit the department in February.

“But it really all started with the provincial government funding cuts to post-secondary.”

All told, the Bears and Pandas will lose around $2.5 million in funding and revenue.

On Monday morning, the University of Lethbridge axed its hockey teams because of funding cuts. Reade doesn’t expect the U of A will lose teams, but the university will have to adjust.

“I don’t foresee us cutting programs, but we will have to run them in a different way,” said Reade.

Last week, Reade sent out a letter outlining the university’s challenges.

Canada West is working on revised schedules for 2020-21. There will likely be fewer games and more travel by bus, since it’s cheaper and more flexible than air travel. On top of that, schedule-makers have to worry about delays or cancellations as a result of the pandemic.

“We’ll run everything for this fiscal year, then wait and see what happens in the future,” said Reade.

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