Friday, February 23, 2007

"United Swim Parents" Letter to the Post

From the Post:

Your Turn: OU should implement phase-out for men’s swimming, diving
Letter to the Editor

In their own words:

“You will graduate a Bobcat swimmer.”

“Ohio University is committed to its Men’s Swimming program.”

“Ohio University is committed to Olympic sports.”

“There are no Title IX issues at Ohio University.”

The current issue on the table is whether President Roderick McDavis and Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt are men of integrity, willing to stand by promises made to induce high school swimmers and divers to sign letters of intent and after enrollment, to encourage student athletes to remain in the Ohio University swim program. The above statements reflect repeated promises made to current men’s swimming and diving team members regarding the program throughout their tenure at Ohio University.

On Jan. 12, 2006 Athletic Director Hocutt sent a letter on Ohio University letterhead to a number of swimmers “as a follow up to Coach Werner’s conversation with you regarding a very difficult situation.” The conversation that Mr. Hocutt referred to included all of the quotes above. Mr. Hocutt states in the letter: “I want to assure you that the Athletics Department is behind the Men’s Swimming & Diving program and will support you with all available resources. As reflected in our five-year plan referenced above, it is our department’s goal to ultimately return Men’s Swimming & Diving to its 2004-2005 scholarship totals.”

Ohio University’s Core Values and Guiding Principles are outlined on pages 20 and 21 of the Vision Ohio document: “Interactions among all individuals in the university community should be built on standards of civility, integrity, caring, and collaboration.” Webster’s online dictionary defines ‘integrity’ as a firm adherence to a code of moral values. Integrity involves honesty, honor, honoring your word and honoring your commitments.

On behalf of the United Swim Parents, Brad Stetson and John Schaefer met with President McDavis, Athletic Director Hocutt and Associate Athletic Director Rob Andrey on Feb. 16. We discussed the topics above and recommended a phase-out option for the programs that were cut to allow the current athletes to complete their athletic eligibility. This is the only fair course of action in light of the specific representations by the swimming coaches and Athletic Director highlighted above. Simply put, Ohio University has an ethical, moral and legal responsibility to honor the words and commitments of its own representatives. Current team members await President McDavis’ decision regarding whether promises made will be promises kept.—United Swim Parents

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