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Sports programs at the University of Wyoming have been trimmed by four to meet budget reductions.

In a 6-5 vote Saturday, university trustees decided to follow athletic director Paul Roach's recommendation to drop from 18 sports to the Division I minimum of 14 athletic programs.Those falling under the budget ax are men's indoor and outdoor track and men's and women's skiing.

Scores of student-athletes and their coaches turned out to plea their case.

Ski coach Kurt Smitz said he doesn't understand the cut to his program, one he says is of "academic and athletic excellence, with championship status."

Track coach Duane Schwopp said his athletes are Cowboys and don't want to attend a different school.

Trustee President Bryan Sharratt said it was a difficult decision, but a necessary one.

"We decided that we would accept the recommendation of our athletic director, eliminate the four teams that he had suggested and get on with the business of maintaining the excellent athletic department that we have - what's left of it," Sharratt said.

Roach on Thursday announced plans to drop to the minimum number required to qualify a school for Division I status. He said that in the six years that 18 sports have been maintained, operating costs have skyrocketed while state funding has remained the same.

Roach said the cutbacks were based on gender-equity, division rules and budget considerations.