MARQUETTE—The United States Olympic Education Center announced today (Aug. 1) its residential boxing program is scheduled to close in December due to decreasing financial support.
“The USOEC and Northern Michigan University pay approximately $110,000 per year toward boxing coaching salaries while each of the other four training programs only receive $20,000 per year,” said USOEC director Jeff Kleinschmidt. “The USOEC can no longer carry this financial burden and USA Boxing is unable to offset the expenses. It’s just a bottom-line, financial issue. It’s not a reflection of the current athletes or coaches.”
To ease the termination of the program, NMU has agreed to support the athletes through December. Boxers will have the opportunity to go to school and train for the fall 2007 semester. In the meantime, USA Boxing is looking into other funding options.
USA Boxing chief executive officer Jim Millman said, “USA Boxing regrets that the budget cuts at NMU prevent the university from continuing with the level of support it has provided in the past. We have proposed to the program’s leadership at the university our willingness to appoint a special task force to pursue alternative funding so the program can continue.”
USOEC staff is still hopeful the boxing program will continue in Marquette, as it’s been a staple at the center since 1987.
“We are happy USA Boxing is looking into options to keep this important program alive,” said Kleinschmidt. “The USOEC has provided outstanding elite level training and educational opportunities to boxers for 20 years. During this time, hundreds of boxers have trained at the USOEC. These athletes have won Olympic and world championship medals, while earning high school diplomas and college degrees.
“I can truly say this program has literally saved the lives of some athletes and provided many with a future of endless opportunities. We are all very proud of the difference this program has made in the lives of the athletes and how this program has helped to change the stereotype of boxers,” added Kleinschmidt.