Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Brown is Better Off for President Paxson’s Athletics Initiative

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

To the Editor:

It is highly ironic that contributor Peter Mackie ’59 extolled former President Ruth Simmons when it was her abject decade-long failure to support Brown athletics that has led to President Christina Paxson P’19’s necessary and reasoned initiative. Simmons slashed admissions slots for student-athletes, underfunded the smallest athletics’ budget in the League and increased Academic Index standards beyond those established for Brown by the Ivy League Council. Ever the politician, she decided to reject her own committee’s recommended reduction in sports teams despite Brown having a low endowment and budget relative to the League, as well as inferior facilities. Finally, Brown now enjoys a President who is guided by realities and solid rationales in reviewing and acting upon Brown’s abysmal competitive record within its Ivy cohort. There would have never been a good time to reduce its unsustainable sponsorship of the third highest number of teams in college athletics. President Paxson is willing to make the hard/unpopular decisions when the application of contextual rationales warrant them. And Brown is better off for it!

— Kevin A. Seaman ’69

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  1. Brown Alum says:

    If we really want to be successful it would have made more sense to cut losing teams with bloated budgets like basketball that hasn’t won an Ivy title since 1986 or football which hasn’t sniffed the top 25 in probably a century in order to provide more funding to the teams that are vastly over performing their minuscule budgets. Imagine what those programs that got cut could do with football and basketball’s resources if they’re so much more successful than they are with such paltry resources.

  2. Bruno-no-no says:

    That “there never would have been a good time” to cut these teams is true… but there were many less-bad times. For example, the University could have announced in July that the cuts would take effect the following academic year, giving incoming first-, second-, and third-years the opportunity to transfer and rising seniors the chance to finish out their careers, instead of locking those students in to another year at Brown in a cynical attempt at preserving tuition revenue in a revenue-light year. Given that Mr. Seaman has previously argued in these pages that Brown needs to continue to recruit student-athletes, even he must recognize that by kicking new recruits to the curb while also preventing them from transferring, the timing of Paxson’s decision will be devastating to Brown’s ability to recruit in the future. What recruit would trust Brown?

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