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UND says women's hockey, swimming cuts are final

UND's decision to eliminate women's hockey and men's and women's swimming and diving is final, according to school spokesman Peter Johnson. Last week, the school announced the athletic budget cuts, which are a response to an expected reduction in...

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UND's decision to eliminate women's hockey and men's and women's swimming and diving is final, according to school spokesman Peter Johnson.

Last week, the school announced the athletic budget cuts, which are a response to an expected reduction in state funding.

On Wednesday, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp and UND sophomore defenseman Taylor Flaherty were on ESPN's Outside the Lines and criticized the cut.

On ESPN, Flaherty said the program was waiting for a fundraising target from UND President Mark Kennedy.

UND, however, says a fundraising target isn't feasible. Johnson contrasted a potential UND women's hockey fundraising goal with the UND's men's golf program which has been trying to secure external funding to maintain its program after initially being cut last spring.

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"Men's golf has a long way to go to get to the $4 million mark needed by June 2018 to endow the sport," Johnson said. "Given the size and cost of the women's hockey program compared to the men's golf program-approximately 15 times greater, requiring an endowment of roughly $60 million ... It would be virtually impossible to fundraise the dollars needed with the tight timelines within which student-athlete recruits are required to commit to a team."

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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