SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — Two Wyoming community colleges plan to cut nearly all athletics in response to a funding crisis.

Northern Wyoming Community College District trustees plan to consider a budget July 1 with an almost $4 million cut that includes $2.8 million in cuts to athletics at Sheridan and Gillette colleges.

College district officials also plan to cut two academic programs, culinary arts and hospitality management, and campus police spending, the Sheridan Press reported.

College officials cited the coronavirus pandemic and expected steep cuts to state funding for colleges in announcing the cuts Thursday. Wyoming faces sharply reduced state revenue from fossil-fuel extraction and tourism.

“This decision was far from easy and definitely not something we wanted to take away from our student-athletes,” college district President Walter Tribley said. “However, we simply cannot maintain a vision that includes full-time coaches, full-ride athletic scholarships coming from our general fund and expensive recruitment and travel.”

School officials said they planned to eventually bring back athletics. For now, only rodeo will remain and with a drastically reduced budget.

Sixteen positions will be eliminated in addition to seven positions that will remain unfilled. All athletes will be released from commitments and all scholarships honored, school officials said.

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, The Sheridan (Wyo.) Press.

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