University of New Orleans Chancellor Tim Ryan delivered some long-awaited good news to Privateer sports fans on Thursday.
“We will not be cutting any athletic programs this year,” Ryan said at a press conference where he announced how UNO will be implementing a plan to bounce back from the recent budget cuts to higher education in Louisiana.
Ryan announced that the official amount that the university had to cut from their budget was about $12 million, which is about 10 percent of the school’s budget.
Fortunately for the athletic program, these cuts involved the “slimming down” of the athletic program, not removing any of it.
Athletic Director Jim Miller said that the UNO Athletic Program will not be a year-to-year commodity and that they are committing to keeping the athletic program alive for years to come with the assistance of New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn and Hornets President Hugh Weber.
“We continue to meet with Mr. Shinn and his group in support of our program. We’re very confident that they will come up with financial support, but also they will be helping us with the branding and the advertising of UNO Athletics,” Miller said. “Weber and his staff have met with our staff at least three times, we had conversations this morning, and we met the day before yesterday, all with the purpose of re-positioning the UNO Athletic Department.”
“I’ll be the first to admit that we haven’t done a good job of becoming and remaining an integral part of the university. Too often it has been us and them and that’s unfortunate. That’s one thing the Hornets organization is helping us to improve upon and we are dedicating this year to becoming a very strong part of the university.”
Ryan also announced that UNO has had to extend their hiring freeze up until December 2009, but it will not be affecting any of the current members of the athletic program.
“I’m very optimistic about the athletic program, as well as the overall university,” Ryan said.