Advocates for cut University of Minnesota athletic programs rally on campus

University of Minnesota students, athletes, staff and alumni gathered for a protest in the Athletic Village Wednesday to protest the University's decision to cut three men's sports.

A large group protested the University of Minnesota’s decision to cut three men’s sports Wednesday afternoon, including a group of Gopher Football players hoping to help their fellow student athletes.

People gathered at the Athletic Village hoping the Athletic Director would hear their message and ended about a half-mile away at Morrill Hall where President Joan Gabel’s office is located.

“It’s hard because all of a sudden our whole worlds are kinda flipped we don’t know what to do now,” said Carter Hughes, a sophomore from Montana at the U of M on a Track and Field Scholarship.

He’s grateful for the show of support Wednesday, for the men on his team and those in the Men’s Gymnastics and Tennis programs as they face being cut at the University of Minnesota.

“Especially not being home makes trying to choose a new school really hard too,” said Hughes.

Senior Elliot Davis has lots of unanswered questions for Athletic Director Mark Coyle and worries about the long-term effects of taking away highly diverse programs.

“He took the opportunity from athletes of color and for athletes from other countries who want to come and compete against some of the best athletes,” said Davis. “Sometimes that’s the only way to get into school and just took that away from everybody.”

The University has previously cited projected revenue losses of $75 million just this fiscal year and cutting the three men’s programs would save between $2-3 million each year. When FOX 9 asked for comment about the protest, the University referred to previous statements made prior to the announcement that Big Ten Football is coming back.

Right now, views are mixed about whether the return of football could help these other sports. In the meantime, a couple football players came to show their support. They hoped their chants outside Gabel’s office will be reminder of the lives improved because of those athletic programs.

The University Board of Regents has yet to make cutting the programs official.