The Stride Report published an article on Friday with quotes from many Brown track and field team members reacting to the end of their storied 145-year program I suggest you read it.
It got me thinking about a few things and I became really OUTRAGED. It reminded me that so many college administrators/coaches don't give a **** about the students they are in charge of.
It's easy as a coach or an administrator to justify "collateral damage." Yes, a certain number of kids are going to flunk out, a certain number are going to get injured, etc. However, you can't treat a kid as a statistic.
Having watched my best friends in college feel totally ignored while injured in college, when I coached, I tried to constantly remind myself, "Don't ever give up on a kid, as this is their one and only shot at this. This is their college career and their dream."
The Brown administration clearly doesn't do this. The timing of this announcement is unacceptable. According to the Stride Report, the transfer portal is now closed. The freshman have already sent in their nonrefundable deposits. What in the hell are the current athletes and the incoming freshman supposed to do?
If Brown REALLY thinks that axing a 145-year old program is going to make them a better University, well they should at a minimum have done it in a proper way.
1) It's totally unacceptable that it was announced on May 28th. To me, people should be fired for announcing it when they did. This decision should have been announced last Fall so that no incoming freshman would be locked into going to a University that is dropping their sport and so that those already at Brown could transfer out if they wanted.
2) Given that they did announce it on May 28th, they need at a minimum immediately agree to sponsor men's track and xc through for the upcoming school year.
3) Adding insult to injury, I also received a fascinating email today from a college journalist who told me that the club sailing team that is being elevated to Varsity status, doesn't care about being a varsity sport.
He or she knows some people on the Brown sailing team. THey said the sailing team doesn't want Varsity status as there is no need for it as club teams can compete at nationals and Brown actaully already won nationals last year. Being varsity just means they have to do a bunch of bureaucratic crap. The don't need money as the team is already super funded by alumnus Ted Turner - one of the riches men in the world.
Here is the relevant portion of their email with personal information removed ( I got permission to use the email).
A LRC emailer wrote:
I’m writing about the Brown athletics decision that was released yesterday and I think there are some important things to know. I have several friends deeply involved with the Brown program. I’d be happy to write this in more of an article format and send it to you if you wanted to post it on LetsRun.
First of all, the sailing team had nothing to do with this. [I know someone who] is an alum of the sailing team **** and I texted her this morning. She told me that Ted Turner ’60 (billionaire founder of CNN and TBS) has been funding the sailing team and they basically didn’t even need varsity funding. Secondly, the way college sailing works is that any club can still compete at nationals. Many top teams such as brown and princeton are club teams and there are few varsity teams. People sail 2 person boats in college and there is a women’s division and a coed division (no mens division because men are typically too heavy and slow to have two of them in the same boat). Brown, as a club team, won the 2019 women’s nationals and placed 5th in coeds so clearly they were doing just fine without being varsity. The sailing team was offered (according to my friend) varsity status for several years and turned it down every time because being a varsity team comes with various annoying bureaucratic restrictions and formalities. The team was already supported by the student government and many alumni (including Ted Turner) so their budget was fine. According to my friend, the sailing team was just as surprised as the teams that were cut by this announcement.
Secondly, the school claims this has nothing to do with COVID-19 and they are not reducing their athletics budget, they are just redistributing the money to other teams. It seems a lot of people on the message board do not understand this and maybe it would be good to clarify.
Like you, I am deeply saddened by this decision and think it warrants a lot of outrage as well as coverage on your website. I would be more than happy to write an article for you given my knowledge of college sailing as well as current and former members of both the brown track and sailing teams. I’ve taught sailing in the summers in addition to running for several years so many of my coworkers were college sailors. I think it’s important that people hear about Brown’s decision as well as know that the sailing team are not the villains they’re made out to be.
Let me know if you have any questions.