Friday, January 29, 2010

Duquesne blows it

How is it that an institution of educated individuals can be so clueless about handling difficult athletic situations? Duquesne University decided to cut four men's athletic programs, including wrestling, then tried to call it a retrenching.
Please try not to insult our intelligence when dealing with such unpleasant moves. Wrestling fans, in particular, are not falling for this crap because they've seen it happen before.
This was nothing more than an effort to come into compliance with Title IX, the civil rights legislation that requires an equal footing for men and women who participate in college athletics. Unfortunately, no one won with Duquesne's situation.
Male athletes were dealt a blow with the loss of swimming, baseball, golf and wrestling. Those athletes will most likely transfer to other programs after this school year. The coaches have little choice but to leave, too.
Women gain nothing other than a slight increase in funding from the revenue saved by cutting the men's sports. It's not a great day for Title IX advocates because the university's sleight of hand does not benefit women or women's programs.
Ah, but here's the rub. Duquesne has dramatically increased the percentage of women participating in athletics without the school having to add any programs. That's because there are fewer male athletes. Let's pop the cork on that, huh?
It's addition through subtraction, and that's not the intent of the legislation.
Of course, Duquesne handled this poorly, using a press release to make the announcement. How cold. If the university is going to squash the dreams of a hundred athletes, it could at least try be more compassionate. Put a live person in front of the microphone for a little gruel and sympathy.
Again, you are dealing with academicians, not public relation experts. They rarely get it right. Their reaction was to say nothing.
Athletic director Greg Amodio should have made himself available to the press, the athletes who were getting their dreams destroyed and the coaches whose careers were disintegrating. When he finally did comment, it was two days after a chorus of criticism streamed down from the media.
Just once, I would like an administrator to come out say what everyone knows. "Look, we don't like cutting these programs but we want to help our other programs survive and we want to be in compliance with Title IX because we feel it's important."
That would be the smart thing to do.
And that's exactly why it would never occur to Duquesne's administration that this would be the best way to handle this.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone would agree that Duquesne could have handled the media issues better. However, this now gives them 16 varsity programs versus 20. Guess how many the University of Florida has? Yes 16. How many do the Division 1 Catholic schools similar to Duquesne have? 16. So why should Duquesne continue to fund more non-revenue sports than other programs. It just doesnt make fiscal sense. Painful in the short run. Makes complete sense long term.

March 7, 2010 at 8:02 PM  

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