TO THE DECISION MAKERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON
The ecosystem of The University of Akron is in jeopardy if we do not “rise together” with the energy of equity, fairness, diversity and excellence. Our school’s Track and Field/Cross Country program is arguably the most successful overall enterprise on campus. What other program has a worldwide competitive reputation, while bringing in more money to the University than it spends; and represents the most diverse program on campus?
Despite all this, the program has been directed to:
discontinue men’s cross country, which is basically financially free to operate and is vital to the success of the track and field program
very significantly reduce scholarships
dismiss an Olympic medalist’s coach
execute significant cuts from its operations budget
Financial sacrifices should be expected by all programs, including the track and field/cross country programs. However, they must be strategic, while not compromising values and what we are excellent at. No sports program (besides those that were dismissed) were asked to cut more. The excuse for these catastrophic actions were that they “fit into the ecosystem of the athletic department.”
Does the following not fit into the University’s ecosystem?
Winning 33 MAC Team Championships
Bringing in more revenue to the University than what is spent.
holding donations ready to endow the men’s cross country program.
A sport that is all about and derives its success from diversity.
Being the most popular participated sport in high school. (NFHS)
• 9 national individual championships; 153 All-America honors • Reigning Olympic Medalist and 3 Olympians
• World Champion
Nationally ranked among the biggest named college athletic programs (see chart) with 2 tops ten and 9 top 20 NCAA finishes in the last 6 years.
There is an obvious deliberate, historical, prejudicial effort, not to rise up, but to destroy everything this program is about. What type of life sustaining, successful ecosystem destroys its best while propping up its weaknesses? Isn’t doing this a dangerous recipe for disaster at a school that must make tough decisions, to insure excellence, fairness and diversity? It is hard to take seriously the cries for inclusion when the most diverse program on campus is being excluded.
This injustice can be remedied. There are affordable solutions ready to go, if there is communication. We can “rise together” to work it out. Let’s reinstate men’s cross country. Let’s get back those scholarships. Doing all this is truly in the best interest of sustaining the school’s important ecosystem.
Ready to get it done?
Enclosed is the letter from Brown University President on coincidental matter.