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University of Arizona's Adaptive Athletics program gets $1 million pledge amid budget cuts

Amid a budget crisis at the University of Arizona, its Adaptive Athletics program has received a donation commitment for $1 million. The program serves student athletes with disabilities as they compete in various sports, from wheelchair basketball to adaptive golf.

The $1 million pledge will further the program’s mission of equitable treatment and be given in installments over the next four years. 

Adaptive Athletics director Peter Hughes says the money will be used to finance the same resources, like sports psychology and nutrition that their counterpart, the university's Intercollegiate Athletics program, already gets.

“You know the university provides my salary, this space, scholarship money for our athletes, which is fantastic. But all the competition and additional coaching has to be independently fundraised," Hughes said. 

The program also received a $6.5 million commitment in December from a different donor. Hughes says the bulk will be saved to offset any future fundraising shortfall.

He also says these donations are not affected by the current university budget crisis. He says this is because they are a part of the non-profit arm of the university. But he says UA’s financial woes have had an effect.  

“We’re not allowed to hire anybody until July, so I lost my one guy that was doing our strength and conditioning, [he had] moved, and so I can’t hire anybody to do that right now. Our athletic trainer took a different job in Texas, and I’m not able to hire anybody," Hughes said.

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Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.