Oct 242011
 

All faculty, staff, and students received this memo just now.

M E M O R A N D U M

TO: UAHuntsville Community

FROM: Malcolm Portera, President

RE: UAHuntsville Ice Hockey Program

DATE: October 24, 2011

I want to share with you a decision that has been made following months of careful study. As a result of a financial analysis of our athletic program, and numerous conversations I have had with athletic directors, university presidents and commissioners of Division I ice hockey programs, it has become obvious that, for the best interest of this university, our athletic department and the ice hockey program, we move the team from the Division I level back to its original classification as a club sport at the end of the 2011-2012 season.

In this economic environment universities must examine the value of every dollar we spend, and we must view every option to use those funds for the betterment of the entire campus. The cost savings from this move will allow the university to enhance the operating budgets of the other 15 sports on campus, provide more student aid to a greater number of student-athletes, and, at the same time, enable us to increase our investment in high-demand academic programs to better position UAHuntsville for future growth.

I met with the players and coaches this morning to pledge the university’s full assistance to the student-athletes participating in our ice hockey program. We will continue to honor the scholarship commitment made to these students, and if a student-athlete chooses to transfer to another program, we will provide help in making that relocation as seamless as possible. Coaches will remain on our staff through May 31, 2012, and the university will assist them in their endeavors to seek future employment.

Charger ice hockey will very much remain a part of the culture of this university and the community. However, the opportunity to save the hockey program is much improved by reverting to a club team status. We appreciate the understanding of the campus, the university’s athletic supporters and the community, and we look forward to a robust hockey presence in the years to come.

My affiliation with UAH Hockey ends as of the end of the final game on Saturday, February 25th. Expect little to no coverage here, on Facebook, or on Twitter in the interim. [If you want to cover the maybe-happening-but-probably-not club team using this domain, get in touch.] Like most Charger fans, my focus right now is on spending the time that we have left with our coaches and student-athletes. Charger hockey fans are community members, alumni, and current students. In some sense we “root for laundry”, but that always stops the moment you take the time to shake hands and talk for just a little bit.

The school has done these men a disservice in cannibalizing the Division 1 hockey program to support our Division 2 sports, but it is their place to do so and we cannot stop them. I know most of the coaches of the remaining programs and wish their student-athletes continued success. My opinion as both an alumnus and current student was that the university should increase investment in all of our athletics programs. I sincerely hope that no other sports are put on the chopping block. I firmly believe that intercollegiate athletics serves two great purposes: educating student-athletes and building a sense of community within and outside the school. UAH needs that community as much as any school I know, and today is a loss for the UAH community.