RMU NCAA D1 Ice Hockey Programs Will Not Return This Year, Eyeing Comeback in 2022-23
Robert Morris University will not reinstate its NCAA Division I ice hockey programs for the 2021-22 season, opting instead to continue to raise money for a return the following year.
Last month, RMU and the newly formed Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation partnered together in an effort to raise sufficient funds to support the reinstatement of the Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey programs. The university had announced in May that it would discontinue both programs, which were no longer financially sustainable. The Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation was formed by alumni players and other RMU hockey supporters to raise money to revive the programs.
Fundraising has been encouraging but is still short of what is needed to immediately reinstate the program and to position both teams to be financially sustainable for the foreseeable future. To date, $1.34 million in total has been raised, with $754,000 in pledges payable in 2021-22 – about half what is needed to fund the teams for one year.
If, however, RMU can raise a total of $1.4 million in immediate contributions and another $1.4 million in pledges, the university will reinstate both programs in time for the 2022-23 season. This goal will likely need to be met by December 15, 2021 – the end of the fall semester -- but will ultimately depend on the deadline for reinstatement set by each team’s conference. That goal represents enough money to cover the teams’ operating expenses for two seasons, but fundraising would need to continue after that to ensure the programs remain financially sustainable for the long term.
To facilitate the return of the programs next year, RMU will in the coming weeks hire head coaches for both the men’s and women’s teams. The university also will explore options for playing at an enhanced facility.
“The university’s decision to discontinue the hockey programs was a strategic decision that was carefully considered in light of the economics of the programs and RMU’s financial resources,” said RMU President Chris Howard “Since the decision was announced on May 26, I have been encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm for RMU NCAA Division I hockey from the foundation and the broader community.”