Friday, January 26, 2007

New: McDavis Response to Student-Athletes' Anger

From the Post:

JUST IN: McDavis faces anger, grief from student athletes

Catie Coleman / Staff Writer /

Tears were shed and accusations flung at Ohio University President Roderick McDavis as dozens of angry students confronted him about the decision to cut four varsity sports at Friday’s Town Hall meeting.

The meeting reached a fever pitch when dozens of people walked out after it was suggested that the meeting move to address other topics.

“We came to this university to chase titles while wearing Ohio colors, and we’ve been robbed of that chance,” said long-distance runner Drew Fattlar, a junior on the track team.

Most of the meeting was spent explaining and debating the decision to cut the men’s track and field, lacrosse, swimming and diving teams for the 2007-08 school year. Athletes demanded explanations for why sports had to be cut instead of other changes to the athletic budget, and why athletes were kept in the dark for so long about the cuts.

“These kids represent OU. They bleed green. They’re still going to put it all on the line for this university,” said former swimmer Matthew Bell. “I don’t understand why you wouldn’t inform them.”

As an alumnus of the OU track team, McDavis said his heart goes out to all the athletes and coaches affected by this, but he stands by the decision.

“There are times when the interests of the whole must proceed, and unfortunately this is one of them,” he said.

OU Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt defended the decision to cut teams rather than allocate the money from different athletic areas. The need to comply with Title IX regulations as well as the drive to create a fiscally solvent department was what prompted the final decision, he said.

“Why would we hire a very expensive coach and redesign a few offices instead of adding women’s sports? Why wouldn’t you adjust that instead of cutting 100 athletes?” asked lacrosse player Shannon Hadaway between sobs.

The lack of student involvement in both the athletics cut and the $25 Halloween guest fee also were questioned. McDavis acknowledged that the system was not perfect yet, but said efforts were being made to listen to all constituent groups.

“We do listen,” he said. “I know to some folks it seems like we don’t, but we do. We’re trying to get better at it too.”

Questions about budget transparency and the possibility of lay-offs for the 2007-08 school year were also brought up. McDavis said that efforts are being made to ensure that the budget process involves not just administrators, but also faculty and students.

“Our budget is right out there in the open,” he said.

Regarding layoffs, McDavis said the university would do everything to avoid dealing with additional layoffs, but it’s a challenge.

“There are some unknowns as we work on a budget,” he said. “On a go-forward basis, I can’t assure everyone that’s not going to happen.”


Anonymous said...

go fatty!

Anonymous said...

Go Bobcats! good job Fatty ~Frum.