A link to the full paper is here: http://www.wearerichmondtrackandfield.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/reconfiguration-paper1.pdf
We will have a massive supporters section at the last home soccer game against VCU at Robins Stadium @ 7:30 p.m. on 11/2. We will be singing and chanting the whole match. We will be distributing 500 "carry the flag" scarves and we encourage you all to wear red! Here is a list of songs with youtube links below:
Song List for Richmond vs VCU
1) Us vs Them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9f5CIfp_nQ
When it’s us versus them, you can always count on me
When it’s us versus them, it’s a Sounders unity
2) We Love Ya! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypFg4l5TMq0
We love ya,
We love ya,
We love ya,
In anyway we’ll follow, we’ll follow, and we’ll follow
Cause we support Richmond, Richmond, Richmond
And that’s the way we like it, we like it.
3) Tetris Dancing Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THSZgqO5OMc
Richmond Spiders we a-dore you,
Richmond Spiders for you we sing,
Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Deet Do Do (Hey!)
Do, Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do, Do Do Do Deet Do Do Do (Hey!)
4) Oh To Be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B3IYHviTyA
Oh to be!
Oh to be a Spider!
I moved my family several years ago to Richmond from DC. We have supported U of R through the years and have made many friends with ties to your school. We attend many sporting events with our 3 kids. No more if you continue with your plans to drop the most popular youth sport in the US. I currently run 3 companies here in Richmond and employ several UR alumni. All are very disappointed in your decision and inability to provide a reasonable explanation. Reeks of UVA's recent debacle (my alma mater). Good luck over the next year. I hope you relax your stubborn stance for the benefit of your school.
President Ayers and Mr. Miller:
No company ever downsized its way to greatness. While this quote originated in the context of corporate restructurings in the 1990’s, I firmly believe that it is applicable to higher education and intercollegiate athletics. I write today to add my name to the list of alumni, parents and current student-athletes voicing displeasure with Friday’s announcement regarding the soccer and track & field teams.
Before I criticize the decision, I should begin by praising the work of Steve and Lori Taylor. Since their arrival, the cross country and track & field teams have been on a steady upward trajectory. Their tireless devotion to the young men and women of the University of Richmond represent what’s best about intercollegiate athletics. Their passion and commitment to excellence are reflected in the outstanding conference, national and international results achieved by the teams in recent years. The remarkable student-athletes they recruit serve as wonderful ambassadors for the athletic department and the university as a whole. The university is incredibly fortunate to have had them as coaches.
During the past year I have had the pleasure of attending University of Richmond football, baseball, basketball and soccer games and a track & field meet with my two young sons. Now, when we play in the back yard I’ll have to inform them that their dreams of becoming the next Kevin Anderson or Mike Mergenthaler will have to suffice, as their dreams of becoming the next Andrew Benford, Matt Llano or Ben Brewster were unceremoniously put to rest on Friday. In addition to working on their jump shots and pitching mechanics, we’ll also have to spend time each afternoon learning and discussing terms like “existing resources,” “endowment funded by multiple donors,”[i] “reconfiguration,”[ii] “strategic plan” and “board of trustees.” So much for the simplicity of youth and sport.
Some may find a way to fashion a defense of the substance of the recent decision using tortured logic and selective statistics. However, I can’t imagine anyone coming to the defense of the callous timing of Friday’s announcement. I recognize there is never a good time to deliver bad news, but telling young men in the middle of a season (and on a game day for the soccer team) that the sports they have devoted themselves to are no longer needed because a few people wrote large checks to the university is particularly heartless.
Sparing the cross country team the chopping block was perhaps the most curious part of the decision. Would you have considered eliminating the swimming team in all strokes except for butterfly? (I realize that is a poor example since the men’s swimming team was cut years ago.) Instead, would you have considered telling the tennis team they would no longer be needed for singles competition but they would be expected to continue to show up and represent the university in doubles play?
To recap, the University of Richmond “Athletic” Department no longer fields men’s teams in either (a) the most popular sport in the world (soccer)[iii] or (b) the sport the Olympic Games refer to simply as Athletics (track and field)[iv]. Instead, we’ve jettisoned years of proud history in both sports for a niche, regional sport that isn’t recognized by the Atlantic 10 conference. I hope history proves me wrong, but I think you’ll find that Friday was your “transforming mush into mush” moment.[v]
Andrew J. Blanchard
Class of 1997, Robins School of Business, Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field
Class of 2002, School of Law
Dr Ayers, Mr Miller,
I want to thank you for giving me an audience. I know this must be difficult.
I am speaking today as a parent of a UR Student Athlete, and as a 17 year member of the UR community, about which I care deeply. I have no privileged information about this decision, or the process through which it was arrived at. Nor do I have a question for either of you. Instead, I would like to make a brief statement that I believe reflects the hundreds or thousands who feel that the decision to substitute Lacrosse for soccer and track was a mistake.
I do not believe that this is about GPAs, SATs, field space, student athlete ratios, recruiting demographics, multi-culturism, recent soccer and track successes, or the possibility future National Championships in Lacrosse. While these all may have played a small part in the decision, they serve now to deflect us away from the central question, and that is: What was the impetus for UR to turn its back on decades of Alumni and 55 of its own Students in favor of an unknown entity?
It is very unusual for a University to drop one men’s sport and add another. Sports are often dropped for budget reasons, or to meet the provisions of Title IX. However, this decision was not made for either of these reasons. It appears that the Board of Trustees is saying: “We simply want them more that we want you”.
I stand before you with the unshakable belief that, without the persistent efforts of a small number of wealthy and influential board members, this would never have happened. I find it sad and even troubling that important decisions at our school are for sale to the highest bidder. While that may be the way of the world, is does not need to be the way of our world.
I believe that we have reached a critical mass of good people who feel that the driving force behind this decision and the process by which it was arrived at are not worthy of The University of Richmond. I respectfully request that this decision be re-examined, and that options for reinstating our soccer and track programs be re-explored.
Father of Men’s Soccer player Timmy Albright ‘15
Dear Admissions Staff,
I am writing to formally inform you of my resignation from the position of tour guide in the office of admissions at the University of Richmond. As you know on September 21st, Athletics Director Jim Miller notified my teammates and I that the University of Richmond will no longer be sponsoring a men’s soccer program after this fall. Listening to the empty rhetoric from Mr. Miller throughout the meeting regarding the decision and how it was made really brought into question the integrity of this University and over the past two weeks it has not improved at all.
As a tour guide and a student-athlete on the men’s soccer team I have told many stories about how much this university cares about its students, uses the vast financial resources to make anything attainable and pursues the Richmond Promise. I can never tell those stories honestly and with confidence that these prospective students will have that experience.
On September 21st, The Board of Trustees and President Ayers made a decision that completely went against the Richmond Promise, in cutting the two highest earning GPA’s for men’s sports in the athletic department and also cutting the worlds game and one of the most diverse sports on campus. On September 21st, the Board of Trustees, without transparency, behind closed doors, told a group of young men that have dedicated their lives to representing the University of Richmond, that they mean nothing to them. On September 21st, I became a victim of money in higher education at a university that I truly believed was growing above that and had genuine compassion for its students.
Giving tours was truly the highlight of my day. Taking families around the lake and telling them about the great opportunities that this school gives to people was unique and fulfilling. Furthermore the people that I interacted with on a daily basis in the Office of Admissions were caring, compassionate and outstanding stewards for the University. In August when I suffered from a knee infection that not only threatened my season, but my ability to walk again, it was not Jim Miller, Laree Sugg or anyone in athletics that reached out in support, it was Jeanne Hollister from admissions. When Jim Miller and Laree Sugg told us the news that the University had turned on us, the first person that offered their support was Jeanne from admissions.
Writing this letter and leaving the Spider Key Society family has truly been one of the hardest things I have done in the past two weeks. Last spring when I began working in admissions, I really found a home. I was not an “admission slot” as Dr. Ayers labeled me; but I was Zac a student who represents all that is right at Richmond and everything it has to offer. Hopefully over the coming months discussions will be had about the sacred 13 percent of student-athletes that are apart of each class at the University of Richmond and I know some of those conversations will be with people in admissions. All I ask is that during those discussions you think of the countless other student athletes that represent the University on a daily basis as tour guides. Do not simply think of us as “admission slots”, but as Emily Parisi, Samantha Cicconi and Zac Brown.
I truly respect the work that is being done in the office of admissions. I thank you for the character-shaping experience I had as a tour guide representing a University that I held to the highest standard. Sadly, after the actions of the University on September 21st, I no longer feel as if I can be a positive representative of this institution.