Could budget cuts sack St. Cloud State’s football program?

State colleges and universities are struggling with budget cuts and now there’s word that St. Cloud State University is considering an end to its football program.

The university also is considering three proposals to reorganize academic affairs, says the St. Cloud Times, and there have been layoff notices and early retirement offers as they try to cut $14 million from the 2012 budget.

Now the paper reports that SCSU officials are looking at three options in the athletics department:

  • Eliminating football only.
  • Eliminating football and three additional sports.
  • Keeping football and eliminating eight sports.

They’re asking the Northern Sun Conference for permission to stay in the conference if they cut one of the mandatory sports. Football is one of those mandatory sports.

But sending the football team to the sidelines isn’t a done deal. SCSU President Earl H. Potter III said the request to the conference is still a hypothetical:

“I am not going to them to ask ‘Can we eliminate football?’ It is a broader permission to do what we need to do, including the possible elimination of a mandatory sport,” Potter told the paper.

Potter said he plans to make a decision on the athletic cuts by the end of October.

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