April 12, 2019 – Washington Co., WI – A letter was sent to faculty and staff at UWM at Washington County on Friday morning, April 12, from Stephen E. Schmid, Ph.D.
Dear College of General Studies Faculty and Staff,UWM at Washington County and UWM at Waukesha will be making changes to their athletics programs over the next two years to increase participation in club sports and serve more students. The current competitive conference athletics program involves less than 5 percent of students at Waukesha and 10 percent at Washington County. The current competitive conference athletics program will remain the same for next year. Next fall, we will start planning for the shift to club sports and wellness programs in academic year 2020-2021.The move to sunset competitive conference athletics at the end of the 2019-20 academic year is driven by several factors. Declining enrollments have resulted in declining segregated fee revenues, leaving less funding for non-athletics student life activities and personnel. For this academic year, athletics segregated fee budgets account for approximately 50 percent of all collected segregated fee revenues at Washington County and more than 30 percent at Waukesha. Second, with the end of the UW Colleges, the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference will be unfunded and effectively terminated next year. Continuing support for this conference will incur additional costs to both campuses. Finally, you may know that our coaches have often struggled in many sports to recruit enough students to form a team. On average over the past three years, Washington County has had 60 student athletes per year, and Waukesha 68, with some sports not running this past year due to lack of interest.Recognizing decreased revenues from segregated fees, the student governance associations at both Washington County and Waukesha voted to cut funding for athletics in 2019-20 to help address a $110,000 shortfall in student segregated fees for the two campuses. Next year, we will work with the student governance associations to create a 2020-21 plan for club sports and wellness programs that we hope will result in a healthier student population.We met with athletic directors for the two campuses yesterday afternoon, notifying them of these changes. We hope you will join with us in thanking them for their dedication and service over the years.While change is difficult, we are optimistic the new programs being developed will serve a larger portion of our students and provide the best possible experience for them, while being mindful of the need to keep education affordable.Sincerely,
Stephen E. Schmid, Ph.D.Interim DeanCollege of General StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin–Milwaukee