The Collegian
Friday, December 02, 2022

Live Blog: UR Save Our Sports Forum

The coordinator closes the forum, asking everyone to please write down remaining questions on the given note cards with email addresses. Thanks for joining us.

The coordinator of the conversation asks Ayers about whether cutting football roster spots was ever considered. Ayers says bluntly that they were not.

Ayers talks about the men's soccer and track conversations being different.

The last question, from a men's track and field athlete is long.

Last question talks about studies that show lacrosse is added at schools because of lacrosse players coming from affluent families. Ayers says it was not involved in the decision.

Question from a male student, to which Ayers says it was he and the board's decision based on the task force.

She says she'll forgo all the landscaping the school does to accommodate another sport. Laughs follow.

A female student talks about the endowment and the men's basketball fully paid trip to Italy.

Environment getting extremely hostile between Ayers and other members of task force and other members of audience.

Male student asks Ayers who two most important groups on campus are, which he responds students and faculty, and then student asks why two most important groups weren't consulted. He responds by saying two faculty members were on task force. Audience not okay with that response.

This man identifies himself as head of sophomore scholars program. He says they put a cap on athletics. Female student says nothing he said answered her question. Ayers said students were not a legitimate part of the conversation because it was unrealistic to think a study this in depth could be used on campus.

Female student asks why student government was not asked about this decision. Ayers hands the mic over to another member of the task force.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Ayers responds without an immediate yes or no, which is bothering the question asker. A woman in the front row, apparently involved in the study says some of the study can be revealed and some can not.

A father of a track student asks about the values stated in the mission statement including transparency and collaboration. He wants to know whether the study will be provided.

Prepared questions now coming in from the audience.

Ayers closes his speech, not surprisingly, without a standing ovation. Have to respect his showing up to what he knew would be a hostile crowd though. He did receive applause still.

He says nothing will or could have changed this decision. Not what many in this audience were wanting to hear.

Ayers is raising his voice now, seeming to get angry.

He said donors came from dozens of people, from both sides. He says it's silly to think that one donor drove this decision.

Laughs come when Ayers says special interest or philanthropy did not drive this decision at all.

Lights just went out. Back on now though.

He says 13 percent of incoming classes is made up of student athletes every year, already one of the highest among competing universities.

He mentions the $3 million endowment associated with the addition of lacrosse helping other Olympic sports.

He's now talking about Robins Stadium being better suited to lacrosse than soccer. Interesting statement.

He again mentions the ability of many track athletes to compete in cross country.

He's talking about the additions this decision will have on remaining Olympic sports teams without adding additional university resources.

As has been mentioned before, he talks about the study having examined everything that could have possibly been looked at to make this decision.

He's listing stats listing the increase in student diversity over the past few years. Responses come back about lacrosse not helping this. Ayers takes offense, asking the coordinator to control this, which he does.

He's talking about his goal to do better by the university in the long term, forfeiting the pain experienced today.

He begins by complimenting the speakers, saying it speaks to the university's education.

Ayers will now step to the mic. This is what everyone was waiting for.

Another standing ovation for Hoerner.

His statement that no one on the team has never formally met Miller is met with applause, as his statement that a board member's donation has led to this change.

He is reading his letter, published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today. Letter will be posted on The Collegian later.

He is quoting the administration's words about athletics to say that they are not meeting their mission statement in this decision.

Hoerner now speaking. Grover has stepped down.

Grover speaking as a marketing major now, comparing this decision with other schools that have made similar decisions, mentioning schools that not many others have heard of. It is met with laughter.

Grover says the university has abandoned its values. The audience appears to agree with applause.

Men's soccer players Chris Grover, senior, and Chris Hoerner, junior, now in front. Grover is electing to speak without the mic.

Again, Stubbs receives a standing ovation. Just noticed though that Ayers, Bisese and Landphair are not a part of these ovations.

You can cut the tension in this packed auditorium with a knife right now. Chills.

He also talks about how much the track team has accomplished without any scholarship money.

Stubbs now talking about the support his team (calling them family) when he learned he had a heart disease that was the 2nd leasing cause of sudden death.

He talks about the faculty present in support of their cause and how he knows they are the base of Richmond and how they know the value of a transparent university administration.

He's talking about the text he got last Friday and how it made him not want to give back to the university ever again.

Michael Stubbs, class of 2008 track alumni, is now at the mic.

McGonigle also receives a standing ovation.

She says we would be at a celebrate our sports assembly instead of save our sports if the decision had been to add a women's sport instead.

She brings up the main question of the day: was bringing another women's sport on campus truly considered?

She's talking about how the men's track team is brothers to the women's team. She is on the verge of tears.

Members of the women's track team, Alyson McGonigle, is next up. She is a junior.

Love receives standing ovation as he closes his speech.

His second applause break comes after mentioning the team's highest GPA recognition, having beaten Harvard and Duke among others. He also talks about how this decision will destroy the cross country program as well.

Love is definitely making an impact with his words right now. Ayers just put his head into his hands, seeming disappointed. Love then addressed Ayers personally and received an applause break for his statement. He's very well spoken.

He talked about feeling neglected by the student administration. He then talks about the 11,000 signatures his team's petition has accumulated. He says he will leave it for Ayers to look at. Still no sign of Miller.

Track junior Patrick Love will be first to speak.

A man who identified himself as the man who's keeping things in order for today has just started the goings-on.

I'm not sure this auditorium is going to be big enough to hold everyone that wants to come. People are already being forced to stand.

Steve Bisese, Vice President for Student Development, and Juliette Landphair, Dean of Westhampton College, are in attendance right now, sitting next to each other. As is President Edward Ayers and Bob Black, Athletic Public Relations Coordinator. Just waiting on AD Jim Miller it appears.

People are starting to file into the Ukrop Auditorium aready. The men's soccer and track team members are all dressed up in jacket and tie. Members of the soccer team are handing out white note cards to everyone that walks in, telling people that they will be able to use them to ask questions.

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now