Athletes challenge SCSU administration with YouTube video on athletic cuts

St. Cloud State University decided to cut its football and golf programs in compliance with a Title IX lawsuit filed in 2016 against the school combined with a budget deficit, according to the original press release distributed by St. Cloud State University Communications in early December.

As a response to the decision to cut the three programs, St. Cloud State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee released a YouTube video on Dec. 21, just two weeks after the cuts were announced, of student athletes expressing their displeasure with the administration’s decision and handling of the issue.

“In wake of recent administrative decisions, our Husky pack has been deeply hurt,” athletes said toward the beginning of YouTube video. “I love how Husky Athletics is a family, but it feels like our family is being ripped apart.”

The video cuts between different student athletes from a variety of sports, among others who work within athletics, talking about what being a Husky means and supporting the football and golf programs along with their thoughts about the administration’s decision.

“The lack of communication by the administration to our athletes has been disheartening,” athletes said in the video. “This cut compromises educational opportunities available to us [and] SCSU athletics are the reason St. Cloud State University has this program. Without the athletes, we wouldn’t be here. We are losing our friends and sense of community.”

The cuts seemingly came without warning, leaving over 100 student athletes without a sport they work hard and dedicate their time to, in addition to the coaches and other people who work with those respective teams. The football and golf programs will be cut starting in the fall of 2020 with the school adding men’s soccer to stay in compliance with Title IX.

Also within the video, the athletes discuss the amount of free promotion they provide for the school along with the good light they are constantly putting SCSU in for their hard work in each of their given sports.

“We are always advocating for the school as full time, unpaid sponsors as we constantly shed good light on our experiences here. Through Husky Athletics, I have been given the opportunity to create lifelong friendships. Knowing that I will no longer be able to see some of my friends without any time to repair is absolutely heartbreaking,” athletes said in the video.

Screenshot from the YouTube video, stating the main message of the video, “As Huskies we stand together.”

St. Cloud State has until February to submit their plan to be in accordance with Title IX. The cuts in athletics have made many students and student athletes frustrated with the decision.

“I’m hoping this doesn’t happen to anyone else because the feeling is awful. It’s comparable to losing a family member because everyone is leaving and we don’t want our relationships to end here. Don’t take these opportunities for granted because it can be taken away,” said golfer Kailey Godfrey.

Matt Anderson, a student coach for the football team also voiced his thoughts on the upcoming cuts.

“All [of a] sudden our whole world was completely turned upside down. It felt like a dream. I just felt like almost in denial… because it’s like there’s no way this is happening and I just think during the whole meeting I was just so taken back and disappointed in how the administration handled it and how they kept it under the table until the very last minute,” Anderson said.

The athletes and those who work in athletics at SCSU consider it to be a giant family, and now a giant part of their family is gone.

Sophomore defensive lineman, Wyatt Jentz said, “You always talk about being a family, but coach [Scott] Underwood had 97 sons. Anytime you texted him he texted you back, he called you, he was there for you. He knew the names of your parents, your siblings, what you’re majoring in, where you wanted to go after this.”

One football player in particular, offensive lineman Dylan Lauer, referenced rumors that there were other potential ways the school could have complied with Title IX, and also encouraged students to show up and support the other teams on campus to make sure they don’t face a similar fate as the football and golf programs.

“I think a big thing is hearing rumors about that there were other options to go to solve our Title IX issue that the school is facing and I think I would just ask why [St. Cloud State] didn’t look into another option… Keep showing up to games, get in for free, bring your friends and show support. By doing that, you can help the other athletes at this school not face the same fate,” said Lauer.

A lot of athletes repeated that same sentiment about students of the university show up and support the teams on campus.

St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker mentioned previously she does not foresee the programs coming back in the future so the university can focus on their current programs.

As for as future homecomings go, the university has also mentioned it will be focusing on volleyball and hockey in the near future to build the event around.

The YouTube video ended with a positive note with the athletes stating they will be there for each other no matter what and promise to dedicate the rest of the 2019-2020 season to those being affected by the cuts.

“But through all of this adversity, we are family. As athletes, athletic trainers and students, we dedicate the rest of our school year and all of the success that go along with it to the football and golf programs,” the video said. “[We] will play every game for those affected and as Huskies we stand together.”

The University Chronicle reached out to St. Cloud State’s administration for an interview regarding the YouTube video, but did not receive a response.

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