Nevada AD Doug Knuth: Cutting sports 'not on the table at Nevada'

Doug Knuth
Doug Knuth said cutting sports at Nevada is not on the table. (Byrne Photo/Nevada athletics)

Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth has regular digital meetings with his coaches. There's only one major problem with that.

"Our staff asks a lot of good questions, and I tell them all the time, 'You guys have great questions. I don't have any good answers yet,'" Knuth said on NSN Daily on Monday. "I can make up some stuff and speculate as much as anybody else in the world is doing right now, but I never feel comfortable speculating on stuff. I share what I know with our coaches, and I share what I know with our friends and donors and supporters, but I try not to get in the speculating game. All of the possibilities are out there right now and nobody knows where this will go. It's a tough time."

There is at least one thing Knuth is comfortable telling his coaches. He won't be cutting their sport. The Group of 5 commissioners issued a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert earlier this month that asked, in part, for the ability to cut sports and go below the minimum number of sponsored programs to maintain Division I eligibility.

Knuth, however, said that is only to provide flexibility to athletic departments. The letter also asked for other concessions, including lowering minimum scholarship requirements, decreasing the number of games per season in non-revenue sports and not having to hit 15,000 in average attendance in football at least once every two seasons, which has required some schools to buy tickets through corporate sponsors to make that threshold.

The Wolf Pack has cut three programs in the last 11 years, including men's and women's skiing in a move announced in July 2009 and rifle in a move announced December 2018. Nevada added men's cross country for the 2019-20 season to replace rifle. The Wolf Pack is currently at the D-I minimum number of sponsored programs (16), including the minimum number of sponsored men's teams (six).

"What the Group of 5 is doing is asking for flexibility," Knuth said. "No one is saying we're cutting sports. That's not on the table at Nevada. That's not something we're talking about. Never have, hopefully never will. What the Group of 5 is doing is saying, 'We need flexibility for the next few years with some of the rules that we all have agreed to abide by and that we all agreed to play by those rules.' For the next few years, as we try and dig out and recover from the financial situation that we're all in, we asked for some flexibility.

"Just recently, the other 22 conferences jumped on as well and sent a letter supporting the Group of 5 letter telling the president, Mark Emmert they also support that and there's nuances to the other conferences that aren't FBS football, but they've all said the same thing: 'We need flexibility, too, because our schools are hurting, our communities are hurting and for us to maintain as many sports as we can and maintain and compete, we all need flexibility because we're all getting hurt financially.'

"I think the NCAA will be really receptive because the NCAA is a membership-driven organizational. We are the membership, we are the NCAA, so if five Group of 5 conferences and 22 other conferences are all asking for the same thing you almost have to abide by it."

You can watch Knuth's full interview below.

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