Maryland President Loh announces school to lend money to athletic department

August 14, 2013 | WNST Staff

Dear University of Maryland community:

I am pleased to inform you that the final report of the President’s Commission on UMD and Big Ten/CIC Integration is available at president.umd.edu/commissions/B1G.  This report will guide our University’s transition into this athletic conference (on July 1, 2014) and its academic counterpart (Committee on Institutional Cooperation, on July 1, 2013).

Implementation of the Commission’s recommendations will (1) advance the excellence and reputation of UMD, (2) better support our student-athletes to perform at the highest level in their studies and in athletic competition, (3) ensure the long-term financial health of Maryland Athletics, and (4) allocate some of the Big Ten revenues to support UMD’s academic mission and need-based student financial aid.  I have accepted these four principles that undergird the Commission’s recommendations.

I highlight the following actions:

• Some of the new revenues expected from the Big Ten will provide our student-athletes with expanded support for academics, training, sports medicine, and nutrition.

• Some of these new revenues will be allocated to support the University’s academic priorities and student financial aid.  These allocations are expected to grow to at least $1 million annually.  Effective immediately, I have redirected $500,000 annually in other non-state revenues, previously budgeted for Maryland Athletics, to fund expanded mental health counseling services for all students.

• After Maryland Athletics achieves financial stability, half of its excess revenues will be used to repay its debts and the other half will be set aside to build its financial reserves.  This is to ensure that Maryland Athletics, which is a self-supporting enterprise, will never again be in a position where it has to cut teams.

• The men’s outdoor track and field team will be restored with the full allotment of scholarship support.

• The Commission left open the possibility of reinstating other teams in the future.  Any reinstatement review will be informed by the aforementioned principles of the Commission.

• UMD will produce high-quality academic, research, and athletic programming for the Big Ten Network that reaches some 80 million households in the U.S. and abroad.

There is more that I would like to do, and plan to do, to support athletics, academics, and student financial aid.  At this time, however, I am constrained by the Atlantic Coast Conference’s withholding of UMD’s rightful athletic revenues, which are the main funding source for our athletic programs.  Maryland Athletics now must borrow from other UMD (non-state) funds for operating expenses during our remaining time of ACC membership.  While I cannot comment specifically because litigation with the ACC is underway, I can say that our long-term planning has taken into account these issues.  I am resolved to shield our student-athletes from any permanent impact.

Joining the Big Ten is about academics as well as athletics.  I am pleased to report that many of our faculty, students, and staff are already participating in CIC programs on education, research, technology commercialization, libraries, student government, student affairs, and campus safety.  They have been warmly welcomed by their counterparts in this consortium of top-ranked flagship and AAU research universities.  Joining this “super-university” will advance UMD’s academic mission.

I am grateful to the 23 members of the Commission and to the additional faculty, staff and administrators who supported the Commission’s work during its six months of data gathering, deliberations, and public forums that resulted in the excellent report.  These members represent key constituencies: University Senate, undergraduate and graduate student government, UMCP Foundation Board of Trustees, Alumni Association, Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Terrapin Club, and M-Club.  My special thanks to the co-chairs, Linda Clement (Vice President for Student Affairs) and Barry Gossett (vice-chair, University System of Maryland Board of Regents).

I welcome your comments at president@umd.edu.

Thank you for your continued support of the University of Maryland.

Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President

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