WHEREAS, the Richmond College Student Government Association has a solemn responsibility to serve as the advocate of the Men of Richmond College and the Students of the University of Richmond; AND

WHEREAS, the Richmond College Student Government Association believes collaboration among all stakeholders—faculty, administration, staff, and students—is essential to fostering trust among all individuals with a vested interest in the well-being of our University; AND

WHEREAS, the Richmond College Student Government Association recognizes that some stakeholders in our campus community are in strong opposition to the University’s recent decision to end the Division I Athletic Programs of Men’s Soccer and Men’s Track and Field[1],[2]; AND

WHEREAS, the Richmond College Student Government Association emphasizes its continued neutrality regarding the merits of this decision; AND

WHEREAS, the Richmond College Student Government Association recognizes that some of the information used to reach this decision is confidential because of its socioeconomic and highly personal nature.1,[3]

THEREBY BE IT RESOLVED, that the Richmond College Student Government Association stands in strong opposition to the total exclusion of students from the process used to reach this decision to eliminate two Division I sports programs at the University.

BE IT HEREBY FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Richmond College Student Government Association:

1.      Recommends the administration implement greater transparency in decisions to help students understand the rationale behind said decisions;

2.      Suggests that all administrative committees with a potential student impact have a student representative to advocate for students;

3.      Asks that the representatives of the student body (RCSGA and WCGA) be consulted before major university-wide decisions are taken;

4.      Requests the admission of the RCSGA and WCGA Presidents as student-trustees with full voting privileges at all Executive Committee Board of Trustees meetings.

[1] Moyer, Erin. "Richmond Community Unites in Effort to 'Save Our Sports'" The Collegian. University of RIchmond, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://thecollegianur.com/2012/10/01/richmond-community-unites-in-effort-to-save-our-sports/29107/>.

[2] Woody, Paul. "Trustee's Decision Leads to UR Feud." Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <www2.timesdispatch.com/sports/sport/2012/oct/02/tdsport01-trustees-decision-leads-to-family-feud-a-ar-2250248/>.

[3] "Frequently Asked Questions on the Addition of Men's Lacrosse and Changes in the University of Richmond Athletic Program." Richmondspiders.com. University of Richmond, 9 Sept. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.richmondspiders.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=26800>.

The alumni of the recently cut Richmond men’s soccer and track and field teams have continued their strategic planning efforts, with large parts of those efforts culminating right before Homecoming Weekend.

On Tuesday, eight track alumni published and distributed a 28-page paper, titled “An Examination of the University of Richmond’s 2012 Athletic Department Reconfiguration.”

In the paper, the alumni highlight why outdoor track should be reinstated, citing sources for all research and claims, while indoor track and soccer should be given an opportunity to raise the funds needed to remain along with the addition of a women’s sport.

“We’re just trying to organize everything that we’ve heard from Dr. [Edward] Ayers and his chief of staff [Lori Schuyler] and [Athletic Director] Jim Miller,” said Jon Molz, 2008 track alumnus and current assistant coach for the track and cross country teams. “Gather everything we’ve heard them say in regard to the reconfiguration from both sides of it, not just necessarily seeking out contradictions.”

But five pages of the paper are dedicated to “An Examination of the Provided Information — Deception, Contradictions, Inaccuracies and Flaws.”

Ayers did not respond to an email request for comment on the paper, and Miller responded that he had not had a chance to look at it yet.

The men’s soccer alumni have also noted some contradictions.

On Wednesday, soccer alumni published “8 Easy Steps to Establishing a Varsity Lacrosse Program” onto their website, carrytheflag.weebly.com, under the tab, “Web of Deceit.” This publication will serve as a prelude to a Carry the Flag press conference, headed by soccer alumnus Scott Byrnes, a 1991 graduate, at 1 p.m. on Friday in Room 120 of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.

Byrnes said he had heard other alumni say soccer and track alumni had been overreacting.

“They say, ‘The university canceled a couple sports programs, so what? It happens all the time,’” Byrnes said. “But it’s not about that per se. It’s the way it was done, and I think when people see exactly how it was orchestrated and why and who, I think they’re going to realize why we’re so upset.”

The press conference has been moved around numerous times during the past two weeks, Byrnes said. The reason for the delays was because the alumni were waiting for an article in The Washington Post to be published that would disclose a lot of the information that will be revealed on Friday, he said.

“A Post reporter spent two and a half weeks interviewing dozens of people, gathering extensive research, and he wrote a pretty long feature article, which he submitted to his editor for publication over two weeks ago,” Byrnes said. “We’ve been waiting every day for the last two weeks for that article to be published, and it hasn’t.”

Because the reporter was offered an exclusive story, the alumni made a commitment to not reveal any information in a press conference before the paper broke the news, Byrnes said.

Byrnes said he and the other alumni could not wait any longer because track and soccer team members were evaluating transfer options.

“We have a strong suspicion that the article has been squashed by the very people that we’re up against,” he said, but didn’t have any evidence to back up that claim.

The conference was postponed again because Byrnes was told that there would be a Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, and he hoped the Board members would reconsider and reinstate track and soccer at that time, he said.

The secretary to the board was unable to be reached for confirmation of this meeting. Junior Amanda Lineberry, a student representative for academic affairs and enrollment management, who is present at four board meetings per year, said that if there was a meeting scheduled, student representatives had not been invited.

Yesterday, the members of the Richmond College Student Government Association approved an official resolution about student involvement in decision-making at the university drafted by freshman senator Harry Lambert. The resolution expressed RCSGA’s strong opposition to the exclusion of students from the decision to eliminate the sports and recommended greater transparency and student representation at Board meetings in the future.

In the soccer alumni’s “Web of Deceit” post, Richmond’s Vice President of Advancement, Tom Gutenberger, was mentioned for the first time in association with the sports cuts.
Gutenberger did not immediately respond to a request for an interview after a message was left with his secretary.

The post states that members of the soccer alumni steering committee met with Gutenberger last spring, one month after this decision to cut soccer was apparently made, to talk about designs and costs for an on-campus soccer stadium.

“Gutenberger reiterated that he did not believe men’s soccer was in jeopardy of being cut,” the post states. “Unbeknownst to the soccer alumni until recently, Tom Gutenberger was in the April 2012 board meeting!”

Gutenberger was also a member of the sports mix committee that recommended these changes, Byrnes said. Gutenberger has since not responded to questions from alumni regarding the matter, Byrnes said.

The formation of the track and field paper — headed by Molz, Jim McKeon (’85), Matthew Blanchard (’95), Andrew Blanchard (’97), Seann Mulcahy (’04), Neil Slotterback (’08), Michael Stubbs (’08) and Andrew Benford (’11) – hoped to provide a better solution, Molz said.

One argument made in the paper is that the termination of the outdoor track program has nothing to do with the addition of the lacrosse program. It also explains why the cross-country program will suffer without a supplemental track team. The paper also includes criticism of the athletic department having made the decision without knowing specifically where the 20 extra spots would be allotted.

Other points made in the paper include: disparaging Ayers’s claim that the university’s makeup of 13 percent in all incoming classes is the highest among schools we compete with for students; why the cuts are just a loophole and not in the true spirit of Title IX, and how that reflects badly on the school’s image, and the poor precedent this decision is making on the world of college lacrosse.

The track and field paper can be found on the wearerichmondtrackandfield.org website.

Contact staff writer David Weissman at david.weissman@richmond.edu


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

Whoa…Oh…Oh…Hey…Hey…Hey… x4 

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

Woah, woah,

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!

Oh to be!

Oh to be a Spider!

President Ayers,

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.
Thanks, Darrell
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

[i] http://www2.timesdispatch.com/sports/2012/sep/21/ur-expected-add-mens-lacrosse-drop-mens-soccer-tra-ar-2224044/

[ii] http://www.richmondspiders.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=26800&ATCLID=205689650

[iii] http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2011/09/ranking-sports%E2%80%99-popularity

[iv] http://www.olympic.org/athletics

[v] http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/23/mush