Athletics Review Committee Report

President Simmons' September 7 Letter to the Community

September 7, 2011

To Members of the Brown Community:

I am writing to announce the continuation of discussions relating to the April 2011 Report of the Athletics Review Committee.  That report made a number of recommendations designed to be a “comprehensive and interconnected package” of actions that might “result in an athletics program that is stronger, more sustainable, and better aligned with overall University plans and priorities.”  Following the issuance of that report, many members of the community expressed concern about the recommendations and the fact that, with less than a month left in the academic year, there was insufficient time to consider fully the ramifications of implementing its recommendations.  In view of approaching final exercises, I suspended discussion of the report and delayed taking action on its recommendations in order to allow students to focus on completing their course requirements rather than on organizing a response to the report.

As the new year begins, we must now return to the Athletics Review Committee Report and move toward a decision about several aspects of the athletics program at Brown: the appropriate budget for athletics in the context of Brown’s overall financial capacity; the number of team sports appropriate to field given Brown’s size and resources; the proper ratio of recruited athletes in the class, given the increased competitiveness of Brown admission; and the question of which policies best facilitate the “representativeness” of athletes that is the stated ideal of Ivy League athletics.  These questions, among others, will be discussed by a number of committees as well as by the faculty, students, the Department of Athletics, athletes, volunteers who support athletics, and the Corporation. 

The report will again be on the agenda of the Brown University Community Council, which will be held on September 13, 2011, and we will be seeking opportunities for further discussion with other representative groups that have not had an adequate opportunity to comment on the report.  The BUCC meeting is open to any members of the Brown Community who wish to attend.  In addition, I have been meeting with representatives and supporters of athletic teams recommended for discontinuation and will continue those types of meetings throughout the month of September.  I expect to issue my final recommendations regarding these questions in early October.  The Corporation will receive and act on these recommendations at its October meeting.

If you have not already had an opportunity to do so, I encourage you to take the time to review the report and consider the many questions it raises.  The report may be found at


Ruth J. Simmons