2002: College - A tradition torn
By Jeff Shelman
It was a day Karyn Stordahl had looked forward to for so long, a day when she added to her family’s legacy.
When she arrived at the University of Minnesota, Stordahl didn’t need a course in school history, nor did she have to learn the words to the school song. She already knew all of that.
That’s why playing for the Minnesota women’s golf team was so important. And why the last six weeks have been so traumatic.
“I just remember when I got my letter jacket,” Stordahl said. “I was able to wear that with the pride of being a Gopher athlete. To represent Minnesota was very special to me.”
Being a Gopher means something in the Stordahl family. Her father, Larry, played hockey for legendary Minnesota coach John Mariucci. An uncle was a Minnesota hockey player as well. Another uncle was a member of the 1972 men’s golf team that won the Big Ten title.
For three seasons, Stordahl has been one of Minnesota’s top players, and she is a key reason why the Gophers have improved greatly under third-year coach Melissa Arthur-Ringler. This season, Stordahl led Minnesota with a 78.17 stroke average.
Now she is looking for a new school.
With uncertainty surrounding the future of the Gophers golf programs, most of Minnesota’s women golfers are looking for security and planning to transfer to other schools. While the Gophers will compete next season, Stordahl wants to spend her final college season on a competitive team.
With not many scholarship players likely to return, competitive probably won’t be the best way to describe next season’s Minnesota squad. But while there are many programs Stordahl could help immediately, finding another school has been a challenge.
Currently in Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Stordahl, who has a 3.95 grade point average, takes her academics seriously. She is looking at Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue and Washington, but is having a difficult time finding another business school that will accept enough of her credits for the transfer to make sense.
“A lot of the business schools will only take around 60 credits,” Stordahl said. “To be eligible, I have to have 76 credits. I might have to choose a different major and then try to change majors or something.”
For Larry Stordahl, it hasn’t been easy to watch.
“It puts her in a real bad spot,” Larry Stordahl said. “I feel bad for her. She didn’t do anything to deserve this – she did everything right. She’s handled herself right, and I’m very proud of her.”
The more Larry Stordahl looks at the situation, the angrier he becomes with Minnesota president Mark Yudof. After all, it was Yudof who recommended that men’s and women’s golf and men’s gymnastics be cut, only to say eight days later that the teams could be saved with fund-raising.
“That’s gamesmanship,” Larry Stordahl said. “That doesn’t generate trust, that doesn’t generate respect. The pride I had in the University of Minnesota has taken a huge hit because of this. We deserve better. I’m disappointed not in the athletic department or the coaches or the players, but in the central administration.
“I feel sorry for Karyn and all the other girls. They’ve been tossed about as if they don’t count. Their feelings, their futures don’t seem to be a factor or a consideration. It’s like they’re pawns in all of this.”
His daughter has similar feelings.
“My emotions toward the administration at the University of Minnesota are hurt and frustration and kind of angry,” Stordahl said. “And it’s mostly about how it’s been done.” m