University News

Teams rejoice, prepare to fundraise after announcement

By and
Sports Editor and Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 17, 2011

Moments after President Ruth Simmons released her response to the Athletics Review Committee Report yesterday, men’s fencing captain Andrew Pintea’s ’12 phone started buzzing. Though he was in a meeting, he left to see what the texting frenzy was about. “I had to check immediately,” he said.

Pintea said he was “incredibly happy” to find that Simmons recommended no teams be cut this year.

In her response, Simmons calls for the men’s and women’s fencing teams, the men’s wrestling team and the women’s ski team to find ways to raise “no less than 100 percent” of their annual operating budgets by next year. It does not specify what will happen if they do not meet that goal.

The announcement was met with enthusiastic approval from representatives of the teams.

“I think (Simmons) came up with what is a pretty brilliant compromise,” said Michael LeBlanc, head coach of the ski team.

Former wrestler Hudson Collins ‘11.5 said he was pleased Simmons took many different community members’ concerns into consideration in forming her response. Wrestling Head Coach David Amato echoed that approval — “I think the big thing is that President Simmons listened to alumni and our student athletes,” he said.

Atilio Tass, head coach of the fencing team, said his team is optimistic about achieving the goals stipulated by the recommendation but called the financial target “a great challenge.”

“We will have to work very hard to fulfill those benchmarks,” he said.

Kia Mosenthal ’12, captain of the women’s ski team, said proving the team can raise enough money to meet its operating costs will be an important next step. “I’m hoping everyone remembers how scary it was to be up for elimination and can raise funds for future skiers,” she said.

Alex Salter ’12, captain of the men’s ski team, said the ski teams already have plans in place to meet Simmons’ stipulations for lowering their operating budget and addressing the potential danger associated with  traveling long distances for practice. For instance, the teams are considering holding their practices at a ski area in Massachusetts instead of in New Hampshire, part of a plan that also aims to cut their annual costs by 22 percent. The response calls for the dean of the College and the vice president for campus life and student services to review that plan.

The fencing team is making a similar effort to find a new practice space, said captain Cory Abbe ’13. The Athletics Review Committee Report cited the team’s lack of a permanent practice and competition space as one of the reasons it could have been cut.

Simmons’ response calls for a 9 percent cut in admissions slots reserved for athletic recruits as well. According to LeBlanc, that means the ski team will lose one of its two recruitment slots every other year. But, he said, “I think we can deal with it fine. That’s one sacrifice we’re willing to make.”

Amato, the wrestling coach, expressed disappointment over losing admissions spots for recruits, saying student-athletes are just as worthy of being admitted as non-athletes. But he said the reduction in admissions spots and the fundraising challenge “will work out.”