TWO committees of the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors – the Student Affairs & Athletics Committee and the Finance Committee – jointly met on Monday, June 4, to consider the recommendations contained in the recently released Virginia 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force Report on Athletics.
At the end of the meeting, the two committees unanimously approved a resolution directing the University's administration to develop options, including ones for fundraising, that would ensure the long-term financial stability of U.Va.'s athletics programs without creating tiers or eliminating any sports.
The proactive action by Virginia stands in marked contrast to the pathetic, transparent actions of the administrations of the Universities of Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa State, which cut men's swimming and other men's sports, either without considering other funding options or rejecting such options outright.
Gordon F. Rainey Jr., chairman of the board's Student Affairs & Athletics Committee at Virginia, commended the task force for alerting the University to the issues facing athletics programs across the nation.
"While the task force report contains a number of valuable recommendations, those relating to tiering or eliminating sports have been rejected by the two committees as not being in the best interests of the University," he said. "The committees' action today is intended to make crystal clear that the Board of Visitors does not support tiering or eliminating any sports."
William H. Goodwin, chairman of the board's Finance Committee, said, "I am confident that President Casteen, in coordination with the Virginia Student Aid Foundation, can develop financial resources to adequately fund and strengthen existing varsity sports."
"Combined with the 2020 Task Force's related recommendations on academic, support and other issues, the two committees' actions today really set our agenda for athletics for the long term," said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. "We want the best for our students. We seek to accomplish that goal in many ways. Today's action is a major step. We look forward to the planning for new and enhanced programs, the focused fundraising and the successes that will follow."
The committees' action is consistent with statements made last month by University Rector John P. Ackerly III that the Board of Visitors should seek to build on the outstanding records of U.Va.'s athletic terms, and not cut back on programs, create tiers or eliminate any sports.
JOINT PLAN OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND THE STUDENT AFFAIRS & ATHLETICS COMMITTEE
At its meeting in April, the BOV adopted a resolution assigning to the Finance Committee and the Student Affairs & Athletics Committee joint responsibility for evaluating the 2020 Task Force Report on Athletics.
The Chairs of the two Committees have developed the following plan of action, which has been approved by the Rector and the Executive Vice President:
* With staff support from Leonard Sandridge's office and the Athletics Department, the two Committees, jointly under direction of the two Chairs, will undertake an independent evaluation of the financial situation facing the two programs.
* The Finance Committee will be responsible for analyzing expense projections and potential efficiencies in the Athletics Department.
* The Student Affairs & Athletics Committee will perform an independent evaluation of (a) the opportunities for revenue enhancement over the next two to three years, and (b) the current level of scholarships and funding per sport. The revenue enhancement study will be led by Charlie Glazer under direction of the Chairs. Tim Robertson will be asked to assist in evaluating existing marketing programs and marketing and licensing opportunities. Gordon Rainey will take the lead on evaluating the current level of scholarships and funding per sport.
* The Chairs will meet with the leadership of the Virginia Student Aid Foundation to obtain their advice and verify their commitment to the longer term funding goals recommended by the Task Force.
* The University soon will be engaged in a national search for a new Athletic Director. The Chairs believe it is important for the BOV to set the objectives for Athletics and for those objectives to be implemented by the new AD.
* The foregoing evaluations will be completed in time to enable the Finance Committee and the Student Affairs & Athletics Committee to report to the BOV this summer.
Approved by Board of Visitors' Committees
June 4, 2001
WHEREAS the Board of Visitors received the report of the Task Force on Athletics in April 2001 (the Report); and
WHEREAS the Student Affairs and Athletics and Finance Committees of the Board (the Joint Committees) express their appreciation for the outstanding and innovative work of the Task Force; and
WHEREAS the report has focused the attention of the University community on the important challenges facing intercollegiate athletics programs across the nation; and
WHEREAS the Joint Committees have developed a Joint Work Plan and have conducted a preliminary review of the findings and recommendations included in the Report; and
WHEREAS the Joint Committees conclude that they wish to preserve the Board's longstanding commitment to both academic excellence and excellence in all intercollegiate sports at the University;
RESOLVED, that the Joint Work Plan presented to the Joint Committees is hereby approved; and
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the Joint Committees ask the President to develop options to the recommendations in the Report including the establishment of endowments and other fundraising for non-revenue sports, that will ensure the long-term financial stability of the intercollegiate athletics programs at the University without tiering or eliminating any sports; and
RESOLVED FURTHER that the Joint Committees ask that the President provide on a regular basis reports to the Joint Committees on the Administration's progress in developing such options.
Approved by the Board of Visitors' Finance and Student Affairs & Athletics Committees,
June 4, 2001