May 21, 2004
Rice to stay in 1A

And the crowd goes wild!

Rice University trustees today decided to keep the school's current athletic program, to stay in NCAA Division I sports, but will increase academic standards for athletes.

Trustees said May 5 they favor staying in NCAA Division I sports, but they released a consultant's report whose workable options include dropping football.

It was a unanimous decision. Here is the official press release. The absolute second-best part of the whole thing is right here:

High priority should be given to building a student-faculty fitness and recreation center and convocation center, which also would serve as an improved venue for menís and womenís basketball and other intercollegiate, club and intramural sports. Conceptual planning will begin in the near future.

Please, please, please let this mean that the Autry Court Deathwatch can begin its countdown.

They're pretty happy about this on Owlzone, where the news was broken by a News24 reporter. Outgoing President and aspiring pugilist Malcolm Gillis had already expressed his support of the athletic program. The folks at Tulane, who went through this exercise themselves recently, will be glad to hear our decision.

Let me just say it again: Woo hoo!

UPDATE: Here's the full story. One point to highlight:

The faculty report said athletes undergo a markedly different admissions process and are often "academically unprepared." It cited lower SAT scores by athletes.

But [trustee chairman Bill] Barnett downplayed the importance of test scores Friday, stressing the admission process considers each person as a whole. He compared athletes' talents to those of musicians or scientists who might not do well on some tests outside their field and said Rice's first priority is to admit students who have the potential to become leaders.

That seems appropriate to me. We'll see how it translates into real life, but I agree with it in principle. Meanwhile, John Lopez thinks all this was a brilliant bit of strategizing and long-term thinking by the trustees.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 21, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

I am disappointed. I would like to see Rice depart 1A football in favor of better sports programs elsewhere and more support for academic competitive events such as bridge, forensics, and college bowl.

Guess I'll never be a trustee!

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on May 25, 2004 12:19 AM