Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bringing Back Men's Track Update

To start off, I am very proud of how many current student-athletes, alumni, really old alumni, coaches, and fans have been active in this process. The bottom of this post is an update from a group of track alumni. But first, I wanted to provide a quick overview of what's going on.

Regarding the status of men's track at OU, well, it looks like the 06-07 season will be the last for a while... hopefully, a short while. There are many methods to bring back the team:

1) Lawsuit. There are many different angles that men's track can sue for reinstatement. The elimination of the four teams occurred in such an unusual, bizarre, and contradictory manner that a legal resolution is actually a really practical idea. I have no knowledge that a lawsuit is in the works. Alumni have met with lawyers and law firms, but there have been no definitive actions taken yet.

2) Raise money. And a lot of it. Alumni have told me that it will take $300,000 to convince the Athletic Department and President McDavis to reinstate the men's track outdoor team, which costs $12,500 a year to operate. Alumni are already in the process of creating a legal funding organization that can accept donations. The first wave of donations that come will undoubtedly be huge, but after that tide passes by, we will have to be committed to find donors. Advertising will be an important part of this effort.

3) Luck. A couple years from now, AD Hocutt could be long gone from OU, and President McDavis could retire early. These possible actions are realistic to consider. The search committees that is charge in replacing the administrators could very well require that the new hires bring back men's track.

I hope all of the words above are encouraging, especially the fundraising goal. By the way, IF ANY OF YOU KNOWS SOMEONE THAT HAS EXPERIENCE WITH OPENING A 501 (c)(3) TRUST, AND IS WILLING TO DONATE THEIR SERVICES, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

Lastly, here is a long awaiting Track alumni update from a group of people:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - UPDATE FROM ALUMNI - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We would like to recommend to all track alumni that we set up a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable trust fund like West Virginia University track alumni have done. The WVU group has a website: (Friends Of Track And Field) and has on it’s board some great former track athletes like Dave Wottle, Doug Brown, Carl Hatfield, Mike Mosser, and many others. In our meeting with AD Hocutt, and Chris Delisio (Assoc. Director of Athletics for Development) the amount of $300,000 was determined to be the minimal amount to provide a $12,000 a year budget for outdoor (only) men’s track and field. We think this amount is very feasible and we think it is important to continue with the fund-raising even though they rejected our offer to fund the team for next year. I think some important reasons to continue securing the funds are: in the event that there is a change in leadership of the university and/or athletic department it is a lot more convincing to administrators to agree to something like reinstatement of a sports team when you have the money in place or at least almost in place. WVU reinstated their Rifle team because of a $100,000 grant from the state of WV and financial assistance from the NRA.

Another reason is that in the event of declining enrollments the administration will become a lot more desperate in their attempts to boost interest from potential new students. Again, it is a lot more convincing to have the funds in place before hand. And finally, it will make donating to the team easier. Instead of having to come up with quite a few $1000 – $2000 donations in a short period of time (two months) we will now have a longer period of time to contribute. We would also like to recommend that the donation our team receives from working the aid stations for the Athens Marathon (usually around $1000 each year) be contributed to this fund in the future (indefinitely). Any other alumni who organize road races that would like to contribute their race proceeds would be great. We would also like to know if we have anyone who is employed in the financial industry and is familiar with the 501 (c)(3) trusts if they could help set this up, if we decide to proceed. We’re looking forward to more input from other alumni!

Other items of interest:

Alumni are still compiling information and pursuing options in many different areas. Some of these areas are:

1) An active letter writing campaign with an immediate goal of continuing for at least one year and covering as many media outlets in Ohio as possible.

2) Legal action: a) encouraging Women’s Lacrosse to pursue legal action based upon Lamar Daniel’s report (May 06)that stated Ohio University could not legally deny any request by a new women’s sport team to be added to Ohio’s varsity sport status because ‘proportionality’ with the student body had not been achieved. b) Minority discrimination suit and c)Reverse discrimination suit by men’s team - if financial aspect can be completely ruled out. (We have requested from the NCAA confirmation of Ohio Universities receipt of Sports Sponsorship Funds and their exact amount. We will also be asking the same of Ohio University in our next Freedom of Information request). These type lawsuits have always lost in court - but Ohio University’s situation is unique from all others we have seen because the amount of money spent on the program was essentially a joke. The amount of money saved by the athletic department by cutting track is actually less than the total amount of received income from the NCAA Sports Sponsorship Fund and the fund-raising that the team did. The athletic department did not reveal to the university administration that it needed to retain the coaching staff and scholarship money for the remaining sports (men’s cross country and women’s cross country/track and field) to meet NCAA requirements, thus the only money saved was the $14,166 budget for each sport (Indoor and Outdoor). The athletic department implied in their financial savings statements that all of the budget and scholarship money would be saved. With money thrown out as an excuse, there is no other reason left than Title IX for the cut.

3) Plans to rent a billboard on U.S. Route 33 that criticizes the cutting of collegiate sports to supply more funds for the “arms race” as outlined by the Knight Commission ( under the “About” page and described under topics “Ten Years Later” and “A Call to Action”.

4) Monitoring Robert D. Walters (Cardinal Health) investigation by the SEC and possible lawsuit action by the SEC based upon inaccurate accounting and earnings statements for Cardinal. Walters (not to be confused with track alumnus Robert Walter of Washington, D.C,) served on the Executive Athletic Committee that reviewed and recommended the sports cuts and hosted the meetings concerning the sports cuts between the Board of Trustees and Ohio Administration at Dublin (OH) based Cardinal Health last year. The investigation was reported by Barnet D. Wolf ( of the Columbus Dispatch on Friday, January 26th, 2007 in the Business section. Ironically, this addition also announced the sport cuts at Ohio University. Any Alumni who have time to add to this investigation would be most appreciated. We would also appreciate efforts by Alumni to investigate into Frank Solich’s dismissal from Nebraska, there are lots of rumors floating around, but nothing substantiated yet.

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