Athletics Review Committee Report

April 21, 2001

Members of the Brown Community,

On this web site you will find the report of the Athletics Review Committee in response to the charge of President Ruth J. Simmons and the Brown Corporation calling for a vision and plan for intercollegiate athletics. The report is being issued to the Brown community for discussion, deliberation and input at a series of campus meetings and forums planned in the coming weeks, including the Brown University Community Council on Tuesday, April 26 and the Undergraduate Council of Students on Wednesday, April 27. Those recommendations and issues raised during the forums will be presented in a final report to the President in May for discussion with the Corporation at its regular May meeting.

The report includes a package of recommendations aimed at strengthening and balancing the varsity program and ensuring it is aligned with the academic mission of the University. As a whole, the proposal seeks to strengthen the Department of Athletics and provide better, more sustainable support for varsity teams. The comprehensive and interconnected set of actions includes increasing the overall athletics budget, strengthening facilities, improving financial aid for all students, and providing more competitive salaries for coaches and staff. It also calls for some difficult actions, including eliminating four varsity teams and elevating at least one women’s club sport to varsity status, reducing the number of recruited student-athletes, and a better alignment of schedules to avoid conflicts between academic and athletic programs among student-athletes.

As you may imagine, these recommendations represent a complicated and sometimes difficult set of decisions. Proposing to eliminate teams was difficult for the committee, and is something with which every member struggled. In the end, to fulfill the committee’s charge, and given the current position of Brown in the context of the Ivy League in terms of program size and budget, it was essential to propose that the University bring the program into balance while simultaneously calling for the additional allocation of resources.

Please read the report and recommendations in detail, keeping in mind that the goal of this plan is for Brown to achieve a well-supported varsity sport program that matches the investment in excellence that the University makes in all of the educational opportunities offered. The Athletics Review Committee is seeking your input, either through email at or by attending one of the meetings with stakeholder groups. The committee is collecting community feedback and will reflect this feedback in its final report to President Simmons.

We look forward to hearing from you and hope you will help us carry forward a comprehensive plan for Brown’s varsity program.

Richard Spies, For the Committee

Download a PDF of the report here.