Thursday, February 1, 2007

DC Alumni Speak Up

From the Athens News:

Letter: D.C. alumni chapter not happy about OU cutting four sports

Dear President Roderick McDavis and Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt:

On behalf of the Nation's Capital Alumni Network, the most active chapter in the country and the largest outside the state of Ohio (with 4,000-plus OU alumni), we wanted to write you to express our displeasure upon receiving the news that four sports teams had been eliminated -- without public, student or ALUMNI input.

While we understand that economic times are tough for the university and the athletics department, what we do not understand is why every effort was not made to keep these programs before cutting them. We know that a committee was put together to study the issue and make recommendations, but we don't feel that was enough. What other options did they consider?

Why was this crisis and potential course of action not announced to the students and alumni?

This University raised $200 million from supporters during the Third Century Campaign. A new athletic support effort was made this year with the "Bobcat Club" that raised $400,000. We can raise more.

Why was there not a year-long campaign to raise the $4 million that the athletics department is in debt? Why not a call for support to keep these four programs?

You have asked the students and alumni to pitch in to help raise money and pay for all kinds of projects in the past (Ping Center) and currently with the new Baker Center. There are more than 150,000 alumni of this fine institution, and many who are very well known.

Why not ask one of them (Matt Lauer, Peter King, Mike Schmidt, Dave Zastudil, etc...) to be the spokesperson to help raise the money to keep these teams and help the athletics department out of its hole?

Many of our well-known alumni are solid supporters of Ohio. Surely, one of them would agree to lend his or her name and time to this effort. Why not ask the alumni (and students) for ideas on ways to help with this problem?

We have a nationally respected sports administration program, business majors, finance majors, economics majors and public-relations majors. Could one of them come up an idea that the members of the committee did not think of? We think they could!

Why not ask the alumni of these programs to donate to keep their teams?

While we regret the decision to eliminate the teams, we regret even more the manner in which it was handled. The alumni of this university have given and given a lot to support our school. In comparison to other schools and alumni, we have found Ohio alumni very loyal and committed to the school. The alumni of this school want to give back to our alma mater and do so frequently. If you ask alumni to help and give them the reason why and how it will help Ohio, we won't just jump, but we will ask "How high?" All we ask is that we are included in the discussion.

The student athletes who are losing their teams are our little brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren, and future fellow alumni. We desire nothing but the best for OUr university and for them.

These cuts eliminate ways that students can get involved on campus, and reasons why students would attend Ohio. We ask you to reconsider your decision to eliminate these teams until all efforts to keep them have been made.

The Nation's Capital Chapter Network Board
Robert Walter, President
And all 4,000 alumni in the D.C. region

(The vote to send this letter was unanimous among the NCCN board.)

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