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Idaho athletes fighting to keep their sports

IDAHO CUTTING SPORTS PKG.jpg

Soccer, swimming and diving and men’s golf athletes at the University of Idaho are fighting to keep their sports at the school.

Due to a budget deficit, those three sports are in jeopardy of being cut.

“Once we found out we were one of the teams that could potentially be cut, that is when I specifically lost it,” redshirt senior defender Josilyn Daggs said when she first heard the news that her senior year could end before the first kick of 2018 fall ball.

“Anger. Because as far as I knew, we’ve been more than supported,” Idaho head soccer coach Derek Pittman said when he was first given the news about the programs potentially being dropped last Wednesday.

Last week, representatives from soccer, swimming and diving and men’s golf found out.

Due to budget deficit those three sports are on the chopping block.

“I love this school and I love my community and everyone in it,” Daggs said. “I wanted to stay, it was my decision to stay for a medical redshirt because I wanted to play as a Vandal.”

Pittman heard the news right after practice from acting Athletic Director Pete Isakson on Wednesday and on Thursday University of Idaho President Chuck Staben confirmed it.

A move no one in the program saw coming.

“Up until Wednesday of last week, not even an idea or a thought that women’s soccer was in any danger whatsoever,” Pittman said.

Upon hearing the news, the players jumped into action, using letter and call to actions on social media.

“I just wanted to get the word out to see if anyone and I mean anyone is willing to sign a letter or the State Board of Education to just have a positive impact to save the three sports,” Daggs said.

Pittman wasn’t the slightest bit shocked of the mobilization of his players.

“Honestly, I’d expect nothing less from them,” He said. “That’s the type of kids that they are.”

Soccer, swimming and diving and men’s golf has seen a outpour of support from the other varsity sports at Idaho, as well as from other schools, according to Daggs.

Humboldt State, Washington State and various club teams from all over the nation have showed their support.

The reason why those three sports are in jeopardy?

The way that Pittman explains it: The Big Sky conference has 13 “core sports” and women’s soccer, men’s golf and swimming and diving aren’t part of the core sports.

Many of the soccer players especially are frustrated because of the success the team has had.

The Vandals have won two of the last three Big Sky titles, including one soccer game that had nearly 4,200 people show up.

The Boise State game was the sixth most attended NCAA d1 soccer game in the country last year, according to Pittman.

Although the fate of the program is looming, they’re using their sport as a distraction.

“We practiced today and we have another practice later today and we’re just going to keep going and keep the positive mindset that we’re still in this,’ Daggs said.

President Staben has made a proposal to the Idaho Board of Education as a way to try to keep the three sports in Moscow.

As of now, Daggs has no intention of transferring. Her main goal is keep the program she’s been a part of already.

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