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MAC runner
RE: Ohio University drops Men's Track & Field
To all those who have commented and will comment in the future:

Telling from the site's name, "letsrun.com," I am sure that many of you understand the passion for competition and commraderie that develop from sport. Sports breed loyalty and commitment. And so, if there must be debate in these situations, I think it is great. But there is one central theme here: student athletes are being robbed of their ability to chase down their dreams and the administration did it in a shoddy way (there was a leak apparently and they had to make the announcement; the President of OU gave himself a self appointed $300,000 bonus at the end of last year, coaches were not told, all options were not exhausted). Teams, families are being broken up. If you feel strongly about this, please tell the administration about it.

This is a letter written to Ohio U's president, Roderick McDavis by a member of the track team. It is beautifully written and very compelling:

This was the letter that was read to President McDavis at the Town Hall meeting this past Friday. It was developed based on the ideas and messages from our teammates and alumni and put together in most part by Shamus. Also, to go along with what Kempe said about taking action, I can assure those of you who are not on campus anymore that the team is not going quietly and that there will be plenty of action taken.

Mr. President,

At the beginning of this School Year we were gathered together as athletes in the Convocation Center for a presentation put on by the athletic department to kick off a successful year of Bobcat Athletics. As we sat with our teammates, excited to begin another year of competition wearing an OHIO Uniform, you addressed all of the athletic teams in attendance with a speech that really moved us. You talked of three “T’s” that we were to follow and keep in mind in order to have success and direction in athletics. You went on to elaborate that these three T’s of success were that of Tradition, Teamwork and Titles. We took his speech to heart but little did we know that half a year later we would be wiping away tradition, breaking up teams, and having the chance to chase titles robbed from us.
Your speech started with Tradition. You said that we should familiarize ourselves with the past competitors and achievements of our sports. We should recognize the hard work and dedication of those who came before us and use them as a model. You didn’t need to tell us about the tradition of Ohio Track and Field. The program boasts the richest traditions of any sport here on campus. Track and Field started in the early 1900’s and Cross Country began shortly after in 1926. Tradition to us means Bob Bertlsen who was crowned the national 6 mile champion in 1970. It means Barry Sugden and Darnell Mitchell who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively and nationals and went on to make the finals of the U.S. Olympic tryouts. It means Emmet Taylor, national champion at 440 yards and 200 meters. Tradition to us means Les Carney a silver medalist at the Pan Am games who went on to be this University’s first Olympian. Tradition lies in a 1977 4x4 relay team that boasted the fastest time in the world for that year. Tradition means Elmore Banton who led the Bobcats cross country team to a 3rd place finish at nationals and in the process became an individual national champion himself. Tradition means Stan Huntsman who coached 15 all Americans and placed 10 teams at the national meet. This tradition we speak of has been ended. This decision does not just affect a team of collegiate runners but a strong base of alumni who have helped give this institution its great name. Some of these very athletes have already received the bad news and have asked that their pictures be removed from the Athletic Hall of Fame.
As you continued the speech you stressed the importance of teamwork. This is a mantra that our team lives by. Every runner knows after their first week running the hills of Athens, sprinting the stairs of Peden or lifting before 8:00 am classes that they need their team to help them along. These teams that are being cut are some of the closest and most visible on campus. They traditionally boast the best grades, and support fellow OU athletes at their events like no one else. We love Ohio Athletics and the sports teams that are left here are at risk of losing some of their most loyal fans. We are truly a group of Student Athletes. We are not here to rake in money. We are here to get an education and continue to represent our school that we love so much on the field. We feel that this is what collegiate athletics are all about. Now, these teams that we are supposed to value so much are being split up. Teams that function like families will have members that are forced to leave and wear the uniform of a school that they did not originally choose to represent.
Finally you said that the most important T was Titles with a grin. Titles are great. There are all kinds of different titles. A swimmer or runner might work a year to shave seconds off of a personal record. Our cross country team which may now be in jeopardy was poised to possibly beat our archrival Miami for the first time in five years. After two losses by 2 points we finally had the pieces to achieve our personal title. The men’s swimming and diving program does not have one senior currently and was looking to make a run at a potential MAC title in the near future. It is very unfortunate that the opportunity to chase down these titles has been robbed of us by an administration that has encouraged us to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve them. We came to this university to chase these titles while wearing OHIO on our chests.
These three T’s mean nothing to us now. We now have a new set of T’s that guide us and define us. The first is that we are torn. Do we stay here and study or compete in our fall sport and be loyal to a school that has not been fully loyal to us? How do we wear a jersey right now with the name of the Institution that told us they are done paying for those jerseys? Do we transfer and find new academic pursuits and try to make new lifelong friends or stay and go on for the next years without our true passion? The next T that makes these questions hard to answer is trust. How do we trust an athletic program that does not think it is in their best interest to keep us around? How can we trust that this same thing isn’t going to happen to us again once we transfer? How can we trust administrators that tell us to try to fulfill our athletic pursuits and then tell us one day that we will no longer be allowed? How do we stay at a University that tells us they have a “Vision” that includes expanding diversity throughout the campus, and then cuts the only sport that doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, or size. These questions, paired with the finality of these decisions, and tact in which this situation was handled brings us to our last T. Tenacity. These programs that are being cut have tenacity. And plenty of it. Any athlete that practices under the lights during winter quarter, swims for hours when other students are on Christmas break or runs over 350 days of the year demonstrates that tenacity runs deep in them. We are here today to say that we are ready to put this tenacity to work. We are ready to channel this energy into fighting for what we love and what is being taken away from us. We are the brightest, most charismatic, relentless, and driven students on this campus. This was the wrong group of student athletes to cut. We will not go quietly. We will make this hard. If not for our futures as athletes than for the loss of tradition and titles, and the broken teams that once stood up and cheered so loudly.


The Ohio University Track and Field Team and Alumni

If you do feel strongly abou this decision,
Please email:

Kirby Hocutt, Director of Athletic at OHIO at Athletics@ohio.edu
His phone number is (740)-593-0982

OR

Robert Andrey, Associate AD/Business and Internal Operations 593-1999 andrey@ohio.edu
Amy Dean, Senior Associate AD/Administration and Sport Programs 593-1171 deana@ohio.edu

The President with the overpriced bonus (at this cost)is Roderick McDavis, McDavis@ohio.edu. His phone number is, (740)593-1804

Support from the entire community, from everyone, anyone will help...It is a very important message to be sent that football isn't the only important sport out there!

Sincerely,

Allison Brennan
Ohio Lacrosse 2006

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