IAC and OSA want a voice in sports cuts

Emilie Hedeimann

The UW Oshkosh Intercollegiate Athletics Committee employee handbook states they, among other student organizations, establish policies and make recommendations to the administration, acting as advisers. Paragraph 6.2 states the IAC’s role is to advise Darryl Sims, the director of UWO Intercollegiate Athletics. “We never talked about specifics, but we let them know [the athletic cuts were] a possibility,” Sims said in an article written for the Oshkosh Northwestern. “[The Oshkosh Student Association] was informed there would be cuts, but they did not have a say in what sport would be cut,” Katrina Schiedemeyer, public relations director of OSA. Schiedemeyer said Sims spoke to OSA stating there would be cuts to the athletic program, but the student organization had no voice in what teams were being cut specifically. According to OSA President Jordan Schettle there isn’t a lot of transparency when it comes to communication between student organizations and executives. “[Sims] can make the decision to not fully inform the IAC,” Schettle said. “At the end of the day it is an advisory position.” Schettle said the administration has the ultimate control, even though he would have preferred the IAC and OSA be more involved in the decision to cut the UWO tennis and soccer teams. “Both Sims and [Chancellor Andrew Leavitt] were within their power and authority to make this decision,” Schettle said. “We want to be able to help with those decisions.” According to Schettle, the cuts are upsetting, but students should respect the leadership process nonetheless. “Mr. Sims did discuss the plans with both OSA and the IAC,” Assistant Vice Chancellor of Integrated Marking Communications Jamie Ceman said. According to Ceman, there are examples of meeting minutes from OSA and IAC where Sims discussed the cutting of the athletic programs. According to an OSA Senate Minutes document from a March 10 meeting, Sims said the safety of UWO’s athletic program is at risk. “With the budget challenges we have been asked to look at our programs and what programs we are willing to cut to provide [the Full-Time Equivalent],” according to the document Sims said. Sims said when the cuts actually occur, the administration will do the best they can to share the information with coaches and students, according to OSA minutes. According to an IAC Minutes document from a March 4 meeting, Sims said UWO is to prepare for a $7.5 million deficit. He said Intercollegiate Athletics would be affected as there would be cuts to one or two athletic programs. Neither documents said what specific teams were going to be cut, just that action was to be taken in the midst of the UW System budget cuts. According to Wytse Molenaar, the UWO soccer coach, he is concerned and confused about how this decision came about without specifics. “In both cases, I didn’t know the program was going to be cut,” Molenaar said. Molenaar said he did not know the cuts were going to be made prior to the morning of April 6.