Save Our Sports Update
Feb. 10, 2012
It has been almost three months since the recommendations of the President's Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics have been implemented in an attempt to eliminate persistent operating deficits in our athletic department. In accepting the Commission's recommendations, President Loh also agreed to a fundraising campaign to `Save Our Sports.' ICA has dedicated high-level development staff to this campaign, and efforts to date have included:
We have been working diligently with each sport to help identify and cultivate donors and to increase outreach efforts. The steering committee for Swimming & Diving, comprised of parents and alumni of the program, has been particularly active. According to reports it has already secured pledges of $1 million and developed a business plan to help secure the financial stability for their program.
As athletic director, I am committed to remaining self-sufficient, with balanced annual budgets. This philosophy aligns with President Loh's and the Commission's recommendations. We evaluated the business plan in this context. We found that two of the tenets of the plan are not consistent with these values. Pool fees are actual hard costs related to the operation of the aquatics center. Those fees cannot be waived, because that would only transfer the burden of those expenses to another campus unit. Further, a waiver of scholarship costs to continue the program would increase ICA's operating deficits.
Through continued collaboration, we have agreed to significant elements of the plan. Specifically, we will adjust the fundraising goal, establish periodic benchmarks to monitor the fundraising progress and give the student-athletes updates, and extend the fundraising time period, provided those benchmarks are met. The fundraising timeline will be extended to December 30, 2012 to raise $5.79 million, provided cash gifts are deposited in the University of Maryland College Park Foundation account totaling $1.4 million by April 2, 2012 and $2.8 million by June 30, 2012. Further, the original eight-year total goal of $11.57 million would be due by December 30, 2013. The goal to establish the full endowment, necessary to ensure the program's long-term sustainability, remains in place. The full endowment amount of $36.1 million would be due in June 2020.
We presented this revised plan to the Swimming & Diving Steering Committee this afternoon. It is my hope that this plan provides us with the best possible opportunity for success, while adhering to the fiscal principles that were outlined by the Commission. If the fundraising does not meet the benchmarks and the team is eliminated, all affected student-athletes will retain their scholarships through to graduation and all coaching contracts will be honored. For those student-athletes who wish to transfer, all due assistance will be provided.
We will, of course, continue to work with all other affected teams on their specific fundraising efforts. We will meet with the coaching staffs of each team next week to evaluate fundraising progress. Potential adjustments to their fundraising goals would be made on an individual basis.
Maryland Athletics is, and must remain, a self-supporting unit, responsible for covering expenses with athletics-related revenues. Our commitment to you is to pursue excellence in everything we do. Maryland fans deserve nothing less.
If you are interested in supporting the `Save Our Sports' campaign, please visit http://www.umterps.com/school-bio/save_our_sports.html or call Cheryl Harrison at 301-314-6687. For all of you who have already contributed to our `Save Our Sports' campaign, thank you. Your support is appreciated more than you can imagine.
QUOTE FROM HEAD COACH Sean Schimmel
"I think this update is very positive and everyone is working together to give us some viable benchmarks we can achieve. Getting those benchmarks is great news today, and we're excited and looking forward to making this happen."
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: Why extend the fundraising timeline?
A: The athletics department is seeking to work with the Swimming & Diving Steering Committee and all the constituencies who have expressed their desire to assist us to achieve our shared goals. It is my hope that this plan provides us with the best possible opportunity for success while adhering to the fiscal principles that were outlined by the President's Commission.
Q: Why has April 2, 2012 been chosen as the first fundraising benchmark?
A: Swimming and diving student-athletes, the Swimming and Diving Steering Committee and coaches have asked for a timeline to help them evaluate the fundraising effort. April 2 is one week before the April 11 National Signing Day for men's and women's swimming. This will give them a solid benchmark from which to evaluate our fundraising progress.
Q: Why make the adjustments for the swimming and diving program?
A: Through our constant contact with the Swimming & Diving Steering Committee, we have been told it has secured pledges in excess of $1 million. It has also been active in developing a business plan to secure additional support. This significant fundraising progress provided an opportunity for enhanced dialogue, and this was the genesis for the timeline extension.