The "Daddy Story" takes place in the Richmond "bubble," an imaginary world where leaders are exempt from accountability and dollars trump the truth. Enjoy!
The Daddy Story: Once upon a time, The Daddy (a major donor, Robins School alumnus and trustee) secretly fundraised $3 million in order to bring lacrosse to the University of Richmond. He knew it would result in the termination of men's soccer and track.
The Daddy's son plays high school lacrosse and is slated to attend Richmond next year. Surprise!
A reliable source suggests that the primary reason why the university president expedited the decision to add lacrosse was that The Daddy pledged to also fund a new campus visitor center.
Flashback: Two years ago, the Richmond soccer alumni were proactive in forming the Soccer Steering Committee, which placed them on track to build a new soccer stadium, and they were told not to fundraise this past year. All the while, The Daddy was collecting donations to start a lacrosse program behind closed doors.
Richmond soccer and track programs are number one and two in overall GPAs on campus. In 2011, track and field had the highest GPA of any track team in the country, beating out Harvard and Duke universities.
The newly hired Richmond lacrosse coach knew about the coaching position as early as July. The announcement to cut men's soccer and track didn't occur until late September.
Richmond's former athletic director stated that the biggest increase in men's high school sports enrollment was lacrosse. False -- it was bowling and team tennis, according to laxpower.com.
This summer, the same man conveniently received a promotion to a new role within the university, and his responsibility for cutting the sports vanished. Well played.
The story closes with a recent quote from The Daddy in regards to donating to Richmond,
"...for those of you who have difference-making money, and you know who you are, I urge you to be active, give it and demand results in return."
Which is exactly what we need now -- results. Please understand: My goal is not to portray The Daddy as the villain. He is well-educated, has worked for his money and is spending it on what he chooses. Instead, I am simply asking anybody associated with Richmond and people across the nation to question the school's leadership and take action if you feel that this decision was not made in alignment with Richmond principles of transparency and honor or in alignment with your own personal values.
Outside of the "bubble," the rest of the world is stepping up and taking note of the poor Richmond leadership -- even The Washington Post, the eighth largest national publication, released an article about The Daddy and this surreal web of lies. So what can you do?
Option one: You applaud Richmond leadership, embrace the "bubble," and do nothing. Option two: You provide a voice for Richmond men's soccer and track, demand answers and assert yourself as a catalyst for change.
Please, consider option two.
Richmond students: Write or call your professors, campus leaders and media outlets. Ask your parents to do the same -- for most of you, your tuition is their money.
Richmond student athletes: Stand up for your fellow athletes. Organize a team meeting or impactful event to alert the NCAA. Ask yourself: What if your team secretly got axed?
Richmond alumni: Write or call the advancement office and consider pulling annual donations. To do so, contact Scott Peters. Share your thoughts with Ann Lloyd Breeden, secretary to the Board of Trustees.
Lastly, social media is your friend. Hope Solo, Freddy Adu and Dwayne De Rosario have already tweeted to support Richmond men's soccer and track. Add your voice to the conversation: #SaveSpiderSoccer.
Allowing Richmond to fall into mediocrity is not an option, nor is letting money destroy the reputable history of this university. It is up to you to change the ending.