Mens and womens golf, along with mens gymnastics, were rescued by a group called Save Gopher Sports in a 10-month fund-raising effort.
I am very excited and very relieved, said Minnesota mens coach Brad James. Now we can get on with our team and personal goals and focus on Big Tens and NCAAs.
Last April, outgoing university president Mark Yudof announced his plan to drop the programs, as well as merge the mens and womens athletic departments, in an cost-cutting effort.
Eight days later, Yudof gave the teams a one-year reprieve so their supporters could raise $2.7 million to save the three sports.
In May, the fundraising effort received a $900,000 contribution from the Save Gopher Sports group. A telethon Dec. 15 raised $673,000 and, with the help of an anonymous donor, the remaining $355,000 was secured.
I cant explain the excitement I feel right now, athletic director Joel Maturi said. This puts an end to all the negativity and uncertainty. The three sports in question will be like the other 22 teams we have. They are not in jeopardy anymore.
Still, Maturi warned that rising tuition costs and the $4.56 billion state budget shortfall means that sports that dont produce revenue could still be in danger in the future.
We need to improve our financial stability in intercollegiate athletics or this is going to be an ongoing problem, he said.
Many coaches acknowledge that increasing their teams chances for survival means securing endowed scholarships, even if that entails fund raising.
Bob McNamara, who co-chaired Save Gophers Sports with Harvey MacKay, said the group will remain intact to help an endowed scholarship drive.
If you do the endowment thing, its almost like a double lock on your door, McNamara said.