May 13, 2011

Letter to President Ruth J. Simmons
From the Athletics Review Committee

Dear President Simmons,

The purpose of this letter is to submit to you formally the report of the Athletics Review Committee dated April 21, 2011. Since April 21 we have shared this report extensively within the Brown community and organized a series of meetings with interested parties to answer their questions and receive their comments and suggestions. In addition, we established a website in order to share the report more broadly and to solicit feedback via email. A list of the meetings we participated in and a summary of the feedback we received are included with the report in this transmittal. We are compiling a complete set of the letters and emails received by the committee, which we will submit to you prior to Commencement. We know that you also received feedback directly from many individuals and groups interested in the issues raised in the report.

Not surprisingly, a large majority of the comments we received addressed issues having to do with the programs we recommended be discontinued. We met with representatives of those programs and heard first-hand the passion and commitment of students and others for these sports, and we received literally hundreds of emails and letters concerning one or more of those programs. Accordingly, our summaries of the various feedback mechanisms reflect this same emphasis. We support your decision to defer discussion of the issue of discontinuing teams until the fall, and we welcome a further discussion of these recommendations at that time.

We are pleased that other recommendations have already been endorsed and will be discussed with the Corporation later this month. We continue to believe that the set of recommendations should be considered as a comprehensive and interconnected package, but there are important components that can and should be worked on over the summer to enable the timely and effective implementation of the complete plan should it be adopted.

This was not an easy assignment for any of us, individually or as a committee. But it is important work and a critical moment for the Brown athletics program. It is the hope of the committee that this effort will result in an athletics program that is stronger, more sustainable, and better aligned with overall University plans and priorities. We appreciate having been asked to take on this challenging assignment.

For the Committee
Richard R. Spies (Chair)