Following an outpouring of support from the local New Mexico and worldwide skiing community, the University of New Mexico has overturned the decision to cut the championship UNM NCAA Division I Ski Team.
Effective immediately, the ski team will be reinstated for the 2017-2018 season. Donations from ski team supporters will supplement a somewhat-reduced Athletic Department budget for the ski team. Team coaches and supporters will be able to use the next year to establish a long-term funding mechanism to keep the team in place thereafter.
The UNM ski program excels athletically and academically. The team’s student athletes boast the highest cumulative team GPAs at the university, with a cumulative GPA of 3.92 for the women’s team, and 3.60 for the men’s team.
The ski team is one of only two UNM athletic programs to ever win an NCAA title, as NCAA Division I Skiing Team Champions in 2004. The team has won NCAA team trophies 13 times, and has 16 individual NCAA champions.
For the student athletes, whose academic and athletic careers had been thrown into turmoil at the mid-April announcement of the plan to cut the team, today’s reversal is a lesson in perseverance. The athletes refused to simply accept what they felt to be a hasty and unfair decision, and instead mounted an outreach to the New Mexico tourism and skiing community, as well as to supporters of collegiate skiing nationwide and worldwide.
A website www.SaveUNMSkiTeam.com was set up and has generated over 36,700 site visits to date. A Change.org petition to save the team generated over 10,500 signatures. Numerous pledges of financial support for the ski team have been made, and the local New Mexico ski and tourism industry has rallied behind the effort to save the team.
The student athletes of the UNM ski team have demonstrated how excellence in skiing translates into excellence generally. As representatives of the state of New Mexico, their coaches and families, they are real-life examples of “New Mexico True.”