Incredible sports teams, but UW-Whitewater athletics could be affected by proposed cuts to UW System

MADISON (WITI) -- Governor Walker's proposed $300 million in cuts to the UW System are going to hit the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater particularly hard. The news comes as the school is celebrating a feat no other university in the country has accomplished.

When it comes to sports, nobody plays quite like the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks.

"It is a tremendous accomplishment. There actually has never been a team in the NCAA that has ever done this until we did it," UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer said.

The Warhawks are unique among athletic departments in college sports' three divisions. They recently brought home national championships in football, men's basketball and baseball.

"Doing well carries over and so it really spreads. Many people learn about our campus by learning about athletics. Then they come and discover the things that we have, and then they get excited about being there," Telfer said.

State lawmakers honored the teams' success on Thursday, February 12th.

As politicians applaud the athletes' accomplishments, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the entire UW System are facing major budget cuts the next two years. Governor Walker has proposed slicing $300 million from the system. UW-Whitewater would be hit particularly hard.

"The issue in the proposed budget is just the cuts just generally are so large that it's just going to be very, very difficult to try to deal with it," Telfer said.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), a UW-Whitewater alumnus says he worries some of the smaller UW schools are going to feel a larger brunt of the proposed budget cuts.

"Many of their faculty already teach 12 credits, so there isn't as much flexibility to say -- just teach another class. Many of them have already done an active effort to go out and recruit more students, because the more students you have, the more tuition you can keep, the more revenues you can generate," Vos said.

Telfer says the school has to find a way to handle the cuts while still staying attractive to students.

"We have outstanding programs like the ones recognized today and how do you keep them intact?" Telfer said.

As for where UW-Whitewater might scale back to absorb the proposed cuts, Telfer says they'll take a look at everything, including athletics.

Vos says he hopes new revenue numbers this spring will allow lawmakers to restore some funding to the UW System.

Related stories: