Weiss Forms Athletics Working Group

Oct. 10, 2005

EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - Lafayette president Daniel Weiss has formed a working group to review ways of strengthening the College's intercollegiate athletics program within the Patriot League.

"We have done a great deal of study of the many aspects of our athletics program over the past several years," Weiss said. "But the situation is evolving and we continue to face significant challenges."

The working group will focus on four key issues, Weiss said:

  • The academic standing of Lafayette students who participate in intercollegiate athletics.
  • Lafayette's competitiveness on the athletic field.
  • The sustainability of Lafayette's athletics budget and the amount of capital investment needed.
  • The strategic positioning of the Patriot League itself.

    Weiss emphasized that Lafayette will remain committed to NCAA Division I athletics and to the Patriot League. The College's commitment to its athletics programs will remain an integral part of a larger, comprehensive strategic plan that will unfold in the coming year aimed at building upon and strengthening academic excellence.

    Weiss became Lafayette's 16th president July 1, and has devoted significant time since January 1 meeting with many constituent areas of the College community. "It would not have been my preference to initiate this project at such an early stage in my tenure, he explained. "But I am convinced that our community is very focused on athletics-related questions. Continuing to leave these questions unanswered will only impede our progress in developing an academically strong and ambitious plan for Lafayette in the coming decade.

    "I fully recognize that our athletics program has been widely discussed and debated in recent years, particularly over the issue of merit aid for athletes. However, I believe we continue to face significant challenges on several athletics-related issues. I am creating a working group of faculty, administrators and others to draw upon existing material, supplemented with new data, to help me develop a better understanding of the current situation and outline the key elements for a sustainable long-term vision," Weiss said.

    This group is one of several Weiss has engaged to review important College issues such as the search for a new Provost, Campus diversity, and the College's partnership with Easton. He anticipates the working group will quickly "assemble the pieces" and take advantage of the extensive and comprehensive work done by the Board of Trustees over the past several years.

    Weiss noted. "I believe it is important for the entire Lafayette community to get behind resolving our athletics-related questions, and then get on with Lafayette's highest priority, building upon our academic excellence." He would like to have the College fully engaged in the broader strategic vision of academic excellence by fall 2006.

    Members of the working group will include:

    Weiss; Susan L. Averett, professor of economics and business; James M. DeVault, associate professor of economics and business; James W. Dicker `85, vice president of development and College relations; Wendy L. Hill, Rappolt professor of psychology; David R. Johnson, associate provost; James F. Krivoski, executive assistant to the President and secretary to the Board of Trustees; Barry W. McCarty, dean of enrollment services; Bruce E. McCutcheon, director of athletics; Leslie F. Muhlfelder `81, vice president of human resources and general counsel; James P. Schaffer, director of engineering; Amy Beth Schwartz '06, biology major; Robert E. Sell '84, alumni association president; Helena Silverstein, associate professor of government and law; and Eric J. Ziolkowski, Dana professor of religious studies.

    Weiss said he will not impede the effort of the group by commenting upon athletics-related issues to be reviewed. He said the review will be comprehensive and will assist him in developing a vision to be shared with the Board of Trustees.

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