This past September, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted seven to five to eliminate the Gopher men’s tennis team after the 2020-2021 season, saying the pandemic has caused financial constraints.
The decision has sparked outrage in the Minnesota tennis community and the Baseline Club. The men’s tennis team costs the University only $770,000 out of a $125 million budget. That’s less than one percent (0.61%) of the entire athletic department budget.
As the athletic booster club for the University of Minnesota Men’s Tennis Team, we can fundraise for a permanent endowment to keep the team. But as of right now, the Regents who voted to eliminate the team will not respond to our proposal to self-fund.
The Baseline Club has secured $1.3 million in donations since the announcement. When combining that with the existing Men’s Tennis endowment, there is a total of $2.4 million in funds available to fund the Men’s Tennis program. That means the Club can finance the team
for the next four to five years without any University funding. The Club believes it can raise a substantial endowment in the next few years to self-fund the sport permanently. If the University does not reinstate the team, it will not receive any of the endowment funds.
The University has also brought up Title IX concerns. The Athletic Department has incorrectly indicated that the University is out of compliance with Title IX. The Department references student body gender ratios as the sole determinant for compliance. The NCAA and judicial rulings have confirmed that fluctuations in such ratios should NOT be the determining factor in the elimination of student-athlete opportunities for any gender.
Our proposal also includes pledging a minimum of $100,000 for the Women’s Tennis program. The Baseline Club, together with our key supporters/donors, would agree to work in partnership with university officials to determine how to maximize the impact of this pledge.
We desperately need your help to change the minds of the University of Minnesota Regents.
As a tennis enthusiast who understands the importance of collegiate tennis and saving the sport, we urge you to help us by reaching out to the seven regents who voted against us in Minnesota. Tell them to save the men’s tennis team! We can do it with support from across the country.
The board meets on March 11, so please email your concerns as soon as possible. Send your emails to:
Regent Richard Beeson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regent Mary Davenport: email@example.com
Regent Kao Ly Ilean Her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regent Janie Mayeron: email@example.com
Regent David McMillan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice-Chair Steve Sviggum: email@example.com
Chair Kendall Powell: firstname.lastname@example.org