UF discontinues MAT program due to COVID-19 and financial reasons

Lauren Wolters

woltersl1@findlay.edu

Where has UF’s Master of Athletic Training program gone? Athletics has answers for grad students

The University of Findlay withdrew from its Master of Athletic Training (MAT) program July 31, 2020.

UF’s MAT program was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), the governing body of athletic training academics. One of the reasons behind UF’s decision was the recent changes in CAATE protocols.

Bart Welte. Credit: University of Findlay Faculty & Staff Directory.

“Starting 2022, one of the CAATE standards was to increase our faculty number to three core faculty members which would cost an additional salary/benefits,” Bart Welte, the MAT Program Director, said. “Dr. Matejka and I were the only two core faculty teaching in the MAT program.”

“We have not had a high enrollment in the program for several years, so the University was not going to justify an additional full-time position for academics,” Fiona Hanks, the Head Athletic Trainer and Athletics Healthcare Administrator said.

The financial strain of COVID-19 forced UF to review its programs. The MAT program was one they could no longer continue. UF removed the program when no one was actually enrolled in it.

“We had one student who had one class to finish, and he was able to do that via independent study,” Hanks said. “This is partly why they chose to cut the program exactly when they did. We had students ready to start but none actually in the middle of their studies.”

As for UF students in health-related majors, AT faculty will still help them pursue an MAT program at an accredited university.

“We have been assisting our undergraduate students who are majoring in strength and conditioning an exercise science who are interested in Athletic Training find other grad schools both in the state and across the country,” Aly Matejka, the Coordinator of Clinical Education, MAT Program said. “We are working on articulation agreements with other schools to continue offering students a 3+2 option.”

Hanks will continue to have a direct role in UF’s Department of Athletics and our student-athletes and that has not changed at all. Matejka and Welte will both remain employed at UF. However, they will be teaching more general courses instead of AT specific courses.

Fiona Hanks. Credit: University of Findlay Athletics.

“The biggest change will be that I am no longer teaching AT courses, which is sad as I have been teaching them for a very long time,” Hanks said. “Fortunately, I was already teaching an undergraduate course in the HHP department and am able to continue with that. I have also picked up some courses and teach for Oiler Success as I love teaching.”

Aly Matejka. Credit: University of Findlay Faculty & Staff Directory.

Matejka said that clinical responsibilities will not change very much with the loss of the AT program. UF MAT students helped for the learning experience. Athletic Trainers will still be responsible for the workload. “Last semester, Bowling Green State University contacted me about UF becoming a clinical site for their AT students, and this past January we happily welcomed three Master of AT students for clinical work for the semester,” Hanks said. “We are hoping that this relationship will continue.” 

Welte reflected on the success of UF’s MAT program. “The program had a lot of success for many years, and there are many alumni from the program working all around the US doing excellent work,” he said. “Our first-time BOC Exam (Board exam to get a license to practice) pass rate was one of the best in the country.”

Even without its own MAT program, UF will still have an impact on graduate students at other institutions.

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