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U tennis player Jackson Allen speaks out about program cuts

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Gopher athletes whose sports were cut don’t give up hope that the programs can continue.

Minnesota senior tennis player Jackson Allen jumped on a Zoom call last Friday, pending an announcement from athletics director Mark Coyle.

His good friend on the University of Iowa tennis team fell short of his sport because that department announced an estimated $ 100 million deficit. Allen sent his condolences.

As he flipped through the conversation participants, he didn’t see any football or basketball players – athletes who generate income – and knew the same fate was coming.

There was no shame, but there was a lot of disappointment and, frankly, a bit of anger, he told WCCO Radio.

Tennis, gymnastics and athletics for men will be eliminated after the 20-21 school year as the U faces an expected budget deficit of $ 75 million as a result of the pandemic. What makes it more difficult is that some sports don’t know what their competition will be like during the pandemic.

Allen, an accounting major, wondered why there were no immediate efforts to raise money or cut costs elsewhere.

Any sport on campus could cut their budget by 10 percent, and the student athletes wouldn’t even know what was happening, Allen said.

Coyle told the media last Friday that it was not an easy decision.

We’re doing everything we can to limit that foregone income and manage our spending as best we can, Coyle said. We’ve had talks with campus about a loan that athletics should of course pay back as we go along.

The move will save an estimated $ 2 million for the 2022 fiscal year.

If they really felt like they could survive a $ 72.5 million deficit but have no chance of surviving a $ 75 million deficit … I’d have each team’s budget by 2.5 percent reduced. 2.5 percent of our budget is about $ 22,000, and I know we could easily cut back on that because I see the outrageous spending that even our team makes, he said, but joked that he’d rather eat Chipotle for every meal on the go if it meant saving the program.

Allen reiterated what Title IX experts warn when cuts come to athletics departments, that the financial challenges, not the 1972 law, are provoking those cuts.

This is not a matter of Title IX compliance, Allen said. I feel sorry to try to blame it on Title IX and really create a rift between people who are traditionally fans of Title IX because it’s a good thing. It is meant to do good. I think it is sad to blame this on Title IX, he said.

Led by track and field athletes, they schedule a meeting on Wednesdays at 2pm from Athletes Village.

I think that’s the only positive thing I’ve been able to really sympathize with people right now, Allen said. Before I (would have thought), it’s fun for people to express themselves, but I wouldn’t really think it would move the needle. I was hoping that this effort would create a little bit of awareness and bring it to the people’s attention.

Allen said he wants future tennis players to have the same connection with the Gophers and have the same positive experience as he does – a program he grew up for, motivated to play and represent.

Most of all, for me, this program has brought me a bunch of great people, Allen said. I was looking forward to getting that in the future. I want to work in Minneapolis in the future and admittedly, I thought about the days when I ended a long day at the office and went to a Gopher tennis game at 7pm on a Friday night and my teammates and other alumni and coaches.

Unfortunately, that’s something I’ll never do if this proposal isn’t shot down.

During the last Friday meeting, U-regents gave their support to the decision, which will officially come at a later meeting.

Fifty-eight athletes are affected

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