Jun 26, 2020 11:16 AM

Two Region IX colleges end athletic programs

Posted Jun 26, 2020 11:16 AM

The weight of the COVID-19 outbreak is being felt across the nation. From jobless claims to hospital bills and everything in between, it seems no one is immune to the effects. 

Including two Junior Colleges in Wyoming. 

Yesterday the  Northern Wyoming Community College Trustees put forth a new budget to be considered at a special meeting to be held on July 1st. The budget features cuts from many areas, the largest being the removal of all athletics aside from rodeo. The move could save the organization $2.8 million. 

“This decision was far from easy and definitely not something we wanted to take away from our student-athletes. However, we simply cannot maintain a vision that includes full-time coaches, full-ride athletic scholarships coming from our general fund, and expensive recruitment and travel,” said NWCCD President Dr. Walter Tribley.

The announcement comes on the heels of some of the most successful seasons from both programs. Last season the Gillette Womens basketball team finished the season ranked 21st nationally and were one win away from a national tournament bid. They expected to open the upcoming season ranked in the top 15 nationally.

Sheridan College has had a fantastic run the past few years culminating in hosting the Region IX Men's tournament in 2018-19. 

According to the board of trustees in cases where the budget cuts impact students, NWCCD is committed to making special arrangements. All scholarships will be honored and students enrolled in discontinued academic programs will have the opportunity to complete required degree requirements. All athletes will be released from their commitments to NWCCD.

According to Tribley, the long-term goal is to eventually bring back additional athletic opportunities with Division III teams in the future. Rodeo teams at both Gillette and Sheridan Colleges will continue, with significantly reduced budgets.