UND will not sell Ray Richards Golf Course.
The university intends to keep the land and use it as a public golf course again, Meloney Linder, vice president of marketing and communications at UND, said Tuesday afternoon. UND hopes to have the course open for a "test-run" by fall 2019, as there is some work that needs to be done to the course to get it back to proper standards.
UND plans to keep the land as a "multi-use activity course," which means it would be used for athletic events, including golf and cross country, Linder said. The university also is proposing to use the site for the school's autonomous systems education and training.
"We're excited about this because this allows us to continue to ensure that the donor's original intent stays true," she said. "So we're honoring that, and we're also finding ways for it to support the university mission."
The nine-hole course, named after UND alumnus Ray Richards, was a farm that was donated to the university in 1962 with an understanding that it would be used as a golf course.
Richards died in 1972.
The university originally intended to sell the golf course that closed in 2016. The UND men's golf program also was initially cut that year but has operated the past two years with private funding.
The money made from the proposed sale, which had already been approved by a State Board of Higher Education committee, was supposed to go to an endowment for the team.
UND estimated establishing an endowment for men's golf would cost about $4.1 million to cover its annual $125,000-$150,000 operating costs.
The school has been in contact with the Richards family through the UND Alumni Foundation.
The decision not to sell the course puts the golf team back into a similar position as it was in 2016, when it needed external support to continue, Athletic Director Bill Chaves said.
The athletic department will give itself time to figure out what the options are for the team and whether external funding can be raised to support the program, Chaves said. No definitive decision about the golf team's future will be made until Feb. 1, he said.
It is too soon to speculate whether the funds will be able to be raised for the team, Chaves added.
"At the end of the day, I think there's a sense that we've been going through this since really 2016," he said.