As we are busy watching the Final Four, my mind goes back to when the Gophers made it to the Final Four back in 1997 only to have it removed by the NCAA due to academic issues. The University of Minnesota received more bad news this week when the Senate decided to offer only $39M for construction projects.
The U had initially requested approximately $170M from the State and it has not even received a quarter of it. This has been the general trend of the federal government cutting back on its education budgets and negatively impacting the U. President Eric Kaler appreciated the funds, but stated that there needs to be more money raised to meet the important requirements of the institution.
As great as the campus has been, it is not up to date and there is actually quite a backlog. The U has to keep up with the rest of the universities across the country, but many people in government feel that the university can reach into its pretty big endowment fund of about $2.5 billion to fund the construction projects and renovations that need to be done.
All this comes at a time when the Minnesota Colleges and Universities system got a big increase in funding with $127M given to the system. I guess this is justified since there are some 250,000 students in 31 universities in MnSCU, whereas the whole University of Minnesota system has just about 64,000 students.
I guess there will be challenging times ahead for the U and the Gopher sports programs as well. Many critics have been hard on Joel Maturi and even saying that he has reduced some of the programs to a Division III level.