The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) announced that it will be implementing a conference-wide cost reduction plan in response to the current economic climate and the resulting imposition of budget cuts throughout the University of Wisconsin System.
The goal of the plan is to enact cuts across the conference to minimize the need for its member schools to institute significant reductions at the campus level and in an effort to retain the competitive equity in what is viewed to be one of the premier Division III conference in the country.
Most of the cost-cutting initiatives focus on reducing travel costs since transportation, lodging and meals comprise one of the single largest expenditure items for collegiate athletics departments, particularly at the Division III level. The cuts are in addition to those budget-reduction measures already imposed by the state or UW system such as the employee salary freeze and mandated furloughs.
It's estimated that the cuts will save over $250,000 a year.
Some of the other notable cost-reduction initiatives include:
— Establishing later start times for contests to minimize the number of overnight
stays for visiting teams.
— Limiting postseason tournament brackets in all team sports to a maximum of
— Restricting teams to taking no more than one trip during the regular-season
outside of an established regional perimeter.
— Exploring the feasibility of scheduling one additional WIAC football team as a
nonconference game beginning with the 2011 season.
— Suspending the annual conference summer workshop and football and
basketball media days for 2009.
— Freezing officiating fees at 2008-09 levels.
The WIAC is composed of nine NCAA Division III Wisconsin universities, including Eau Claire, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout, Superior and Whitewater.