Dear Alumni of Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field,
Brown is fortunate to have alumni who remain engaged in the life of the University and who support our student-athletes in meaningful ways. Because you have close ties to Brown Athletics as a former student-athlete, I wanted to reach out directly after Brown President Christina H. Paxson’s announcement to our community earlier today regarding changes to our varsity and club sports programs.
I hope you had a chance to read the president’s letter and Brown’s announcement of the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative, which is geared toward improving the competitiveness of varsity athletics, enhancing the strength of our club sports, and upholding our commitment to provide equal opportunities in athletics for women and men at Brown.
Brown has an administration that cares deeply about athletics and our student-athletes, and Brown is looking closely at its athletics program and thinking about excellence the same way the University upholds excellence in academics. This initiative arose from a deep and extensive assessment dating back more than a year — focused at all times on the value of balancing academics and the personal growth of our student-athletes through a commitment to excellence in the classroom and in athletic competition.
This initiative includes enhanced recruiting through the admission process, increased investment in professional development for coaches, ongoing enhancements to facilities, and transitioning 11 varsity sports to club status as part of a revised roster of varsity teams. As you may know, among the sports being transitioned to club status are men’s cross country and track & field.
As the president shared in her email, I know it’s disappointing whenever an institution makes the difficult decision to end a team’s varsity status. For our students expecting to compete on a varsity level, we know this transition will be difficult. It is truly special to be part of a varsity program that helps build lifelong connections among teammates, and that provides a deep sense of community. And we recognize that each student — past and present — who competed on varsity teams at Brown has contributed to a distinguished history for the Brown Bears.
The University will continue to honor the varsity history of every one of the sports being transitioned to club status. Students and alumni who competed in sports that were varsity through the 2019-20 year will remain eligible for Hall of Fame distinction, recognizing the varsity history of the sport at Brown.
Right now, and through the summer, our most immediate priority is supporting the current and incoming student-athletes as well as the coaches affected by these changes. We will be focused on counseling and assisting them in evaluating their options. Our hope, of course, is that they will choose to remain at Brown.
As we look ahead, I hope that our alumni community will be excited for the future. This initiative holds tremendous promise for giving our student-athletes more opportunities for competitive play with success. The Committee on Excellence in Athletics, whose recommendations established this initiative, conducted a thorough, data-driven assessment of the existing strengths of each team, current roster sizes, the quality of facilities available for practice and competition, and the potential of the sport to generate community engagement.
This initiative reflects Brown’s ongoing investment in advancing excellence in our full lineup of sports programs. The University will maintain its current operational budget for athletics, Brown will continue to recruit the same number of varsity athletes, and squad sizes on varsity teams will be adjusted to optimal levels. A new website has more information about the history of this initiative, the decision-making process, FAQs and other details.
Change can be hard, but it can also bring with it great opportunity. I am so proud of Brown Athletics and the traditions that have defined us, and of the students, coaches and alumni whose dedication, enthusiasm and passion have contributed to our success over the years. Together, we can strengthen Brown Athletics for current and future generations of student-athletes, and build a varsity athletics program that could become one of the most competitive among Brown’s peers.
Director of Athletics and Recreation