UMFK and U.S. Biathlon Association sign letter of understanding that will benefit student athletes

December 11, 2002

The University of Maine at Fort Kent and United States Biathlon Association today signed a letter of understanding that will benefit biathletes who want to further their education and have the opportunity to train at a world-class facility.

The agreement was made official by University President Richard Cost and Max Cobb, U.S. Biathlon Association program director at a press conference held on the UMFK campus.

Under the agreement, the University and Biathlon Association will work more closely to expand opportunities for biathletes throughout the country who want to become university students and train at the Maine Winter Sports Center facility located a mile from the UMFK campus. The letter of understanding also clears the way for the USBA and UMFK to promote each other on their respective web sites.

"We want to capitalize on UMFK's great location and our top quality education in our recruitment effort. Our campus is ideally situated close to the biathlon training facility in ways that will enable athletes to take advantage of the programs at UMFK. For those who enjoy the sport, the ability to further your education on the doorstep of a top rate training facility is very attractive," said Cost.

UMFK's location is also ideal for USBA officials who are preparing Olympic hopefuls who require countless hours of training.

"The U.S. Biathlon Association is thrilled at the opportunity to partner with the University of Maine at Fort Kent. There is no doubt that we will have national team athletes here to take advantage of the University opportunity and the training opportunity that Maine Winter Sports Center provides," said Cobb. "With the World Cup coming people will discover what a great chance it is to live here, go to school, and train full-time."

Specifically, the letter of understanding allows the USBA to nominate up to five individuals for the USBA scholarship program at UMFK. This scholarship will permit five out-of-state students to attend UMFK at the Maine in-state tuition rate.

The university will further make its training facilities, including its top-quality "Golds Standard" gym available to scholarship recipients at the normal student fee.

For its part, the Biathlon Association will provide UMFK with technical assistance and expertise when and where possible related to the future development of ski management related programs.

Additionally, UMFK and the USBA have agreed to join together in promoting each other by providing hyperlink access to each other's web sites so that users will understand the close link between the parties.

The signing ceremony by UMFK and USBA officials today comes a year after a similar agreement was signed between UMFK and the Maine Winter Sports Center.

Over the past three-and-a-half-years, UMFK has assisted in the development of the sport of biathlon in Fort Kent in numerous ways, including providing food service for athletes attending Junior National and North American competitions held at the Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent, housing athletes on campus, enrolled in the summer training program at the MWSC facility, and loaning personnel to assist in public relations and marketing of the events.

For More Information: Jason Parent (207) 834-7557