Athletic department adjusting to weather
The UW-River Falls Athletic Department has had to make adjustments in order to not lose money as the weather has affected the spring sports teams this season.
The softball team has played all of their home games at UW-Stout so far because they have a turf football field. UWRF Athletic Director Roger Ternes said that Stout has been great in letting the softball team play its games there.
“In a league like the WIAC, teams are all willing to work together,” Ternes said.
The softball team has yet to even use its field for an outdoor practice.
“I don’t remember ever playing games at other schools. Until a couple of years ago no one had artificial turf,” said James Thies, Sports Information director at UWRF. Thies has held this position since 1976.
Ternes said that all the teams are in the same position and have helped each other out. Stout, UW-Platteville and UW-La Crosse have all hosted at least four different teams in order for all the WIAC teams to have a season. Ternes also said that the away game that was scheduled to be played at UW-Superior will now be played at UWRF, saving money.
“While it does cost a little extra in travel expense to be going to Stout, Superior coming here will save money. About $1,500 to $3,000 extra will be spent this year with the circumstances, which is not extravagant,” Ternes said.
UWRF is looking into getting turf on Ramer Field by 2014. They are the only school in the WIAC that does not have a turf football field. With a turf field teams can compete any time because they do not get muddy. They can be shoveled off and played on in the same day.
As far as track goes, Ternes said that even though the meet that was scheduled to be at UWRF was cancelled this year, it is almost a wash in expenses because even though there were travel expenses, the school did not have to pay for other things, such as in workers or a timing company to be at the home meet.
The athletic department has saved money in other areas this spring as well. One reason is that the golf team has not had a single meet yet this season, and tennis was still able to host their meet, but they had it indoors.
Ternes said that the Knowles Center has helped make this spring easier, because despite the weather all the teams have had a great facility to practice in.
“There is nothing we can do, but that does not mean coaches and athletes are not frustrated,” Ternes said. “We are trying to make sure our student-athletes have a good experience.”
This spring season is not the only time the athletic department has made adjustments to save money. The department does whatever it can throughout the year with all 16 varsity sports to save money.
“Budgets are tight so we do as much as we can to save money. The whole staff here does a good job of that,” Ternes said.
While other schools in the area have their teams stay overnight before games, the UWRF teams do not. Only the hockey teams will stay overnight if they have games two days in a row on a long distance trip.
“UWRF is centrally located and does not have the time pressure to spend the night which saves money,” Ternes said.
The UWRF Athletic Department has had to deal with a lot of schedule changes and adjustments to ensure it does not lose money during this spring. They have done all this while managing to make sure the spring sports teams have still had a season.
On April 28 and 29 the softball team is scheduled to play its first games at Ramer Field in UWRF, which also happens to be the last regular season games of the season.