Contrary to recent developments within the Big Ten Conference, there are no plans at the University of Wisconsin to add any sports.
On the heels of adding Maryland and Rutgers in 2014, the Big Ten on Monday announced it was sponsoring men’s and women’s lacrosse and bringing Johns Hopkins into the mix as an affiliate member on the men’s side in 2014-15.
With six men’s and six women’s teams, the Big Ten can sponsor a conference championship and qualify for the NCAA tournament.
UW is standing pat.
“We’re very happy with our sport options,” deputy athletic director Sean Frazier said this week of the
23 programs, a manifest that hasn’t been altered in more than a decade. “We’re very comfortable with where we’re at.”
Lacrosse is extremely popular on the East Coast and is growing in stature in Wisconsin, but UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said last month he likes the funding levels for all his current sports — 11 men, 12 women — “because it allows them to compete at a high level nationally.”
UW cut five sports in 1991 — baseball, men’s and women’s fencing and men’s and women’s gymnastics — in order to address a budget deficit in excess of
Three sports were added at UW between 1996 and 2002 — softball, women’s hockey and women’s lightweight rowing — in moves that helped the school satisfy a Title IX complaint filed with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.
Terry Gawlik, the UW senior associate AD for sports administration, said this week the topic of adding sports doesn’t come up very often.
“The last time, we added one,” she said.