On Tuesday afternoon, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy tweeted that he would veto the Republican budget proposal that was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly last week. Had the proposal been signed into law by Malloy, UConn - which just recently climbed to No. 18 overall in the U.S. News & World report rankings - would face over a budget cut of over $300 million (nearly 30 percent) over the next two years.
Gov. Malloy will veto budget, has reached out to D and R leadership to set up discussions on how to move forward: https://t.co/nUd3Y13STM— Governor Dan Malloy (@GovMalloyOffice) September 18, 2017
As the proposal reached Malloy’s desk this morning, UConn released a video narrated by women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma, which highlighted the school’s growth and achievements over the years.
When the proposal passed through the General Assembly last week, UConn president Susan Herbst spelled out what the cuts could mean to the university in an email to students and faculty, saying it would “simply decimate the university.”
Herbst also viewed the cuts as a major step backwards after the state has invested billions into the schools in last few decades through projects like Next Gen and UConn 2000.
In her statement last week, Herbst outlined the damage that the proposed budget would do to UConn athletics, saying that many Division I programs could be eliminated. If any program was to be eliminated, it would likely take down another sport with it in order to maintain an equal number of men’s and women’s scholarships for Title IX.
At a press conference broadcast via Facebook live on Tuesday, Herbst doubled down on that statement, saying that if the budget proposal had passed, the university would have to consider leaving the realm of Division I athletics.
UConn President Susan Herbst said under Republican budget they would have to contemplate changing athletic divisions from division I.— ctnewsjunkie (@ctnewsjunkie) September 19, 2017
That being said, the cuts would also affect areas far more important than athletics and ones that are crucial to the school’s continued growth and success. Entire majors and colleges could be cut, branch campuses could be consolidated and financial aid of all sorts would be reduced. Class sizes would increase and large parts of UConn Health (if not all of it) would close.
On top of all this, the cuts would make it more difficult to graduate from UConn in four years.
While the current proposal did not go through, UConn will likely be hit with budget cuts once again as the next proposal comes to Malloy’s desk, but what percentage of UConn’s budget will be cut is nearly impossible to predict.
Athletics are just a small part of a much bigger picture, but they represent a sizable portion of UConn’s budget and therefore are a prime target for reduction. More than ever, the Huskies’ spot on the outside looking in of the Power Five conference and the revenue associated with it places even more burden on a state looking to reduce a ballooning budget.
According to USA Today’s NCAA finances tool, UConn’s athletic department racked up over $79 million in expenses, but made slightly more than that in revenue to turn a small profit.