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The University of Vermont took a step towards finding a new Athletic Director today in announcing the search committee that along with a search firm will be combing the country for qualified applicants. The search begins after current Athletic Director, Rick Farnham announced at the end of the summer that he would retire in June of 2003. For the UVM press release on the search committee follow this link.

So what does this search committee mean for those of us who are still reading and writing on Iím going to take a risk and editorialize my own thoughts on this so bear with me please. Personally I was quite disappointed when I got my first look at the people choosing the new athletic director. Though we donít have a decisive Ďyes these were the folks that did ití on the people who ended Menís Track and Field at UVM, the people who were in charge then are a part of this search committee. In the administrative sense they are all there, John Bramley, Thomas Gustafson, and David Nestor appearing as the most common names when talking administrators and athletic cuts. Rebecca Flewelling, the Interim Vice Provost for Multi-Cultural affairs is the other administrator on the list. I don't know much about her or her position at the University, but hopefully she can bring a level head to the process dealing with multicultural issues as well as many other areas.
††††††††††† In the Faculty department we have Peter Batelle and Meg Ashman. I havenít been able to find out much information on these folks, and donít know them personally so I canít give any insight at this point as to what they are bringing to the table.
††††††††††† Representing the coaching department are Womenís basketballís Keith Cieplicki and Nicki Houghton from Field Hockey. Two very different sports are represented here each should bring interesting perspectives to the search, however both coaches do represent only womenís teams.
†††††††††† Janet Terp is the one former athlete on the committee and as a former Track and Field athlete she should be a strong advocate for the program and someone who might support the return of a Menís program. If youíre interested in what Janet might add, I urge you to read her piece on the womenís program written on page 6 in the Real Facts Document, which is located in the news section of

††††††††††† Finally, the search committee has student-athlete Morgan Hall from the Womenís basketball team and Student Government Association Vice President Shawna Wells on the roster.

What really concerns me about this line up (to continue using sports metaphors) is not only do we have Administrators who have already proven their willingness to make and stand by decisions that have little merit, but also the committee lacks any input from a Menís sport perspective. If it werenít bad enough that the menís teams have no voice in this, is it prudent to have two representatives from the Womenís basketball team on the same committee? Maybe Iím wrong here and no one would step up and offer to help in this search except for the womenís basketball team. If that is the case I apologize in advance and hope that you can forgive my questioning attitude. But I do have a hard time believing that our University is in such a shortage of competent folks that we have to have two people from the same team on a committee that will affect so many other teams in the department. This just seems like a continuation of flawed logic to me even before the search begins, if this is the precedent that weíre setting out with how are we not doomed to fail, or at least hit a few major roadblocks down the road?

To quickly sum up I hope that despite my misgivings about this search committee they will be able to perform their task well. Letís not forget as Alumni, Students, and Friends of Athletics here at UVM to keep an eye on the process and offer some opinions on what we might be looking for in an Athletic Director. President Fogel is supposedly setting up a group of Alumni athletes to help advise the search committee so hopefully weíll see a more diverse group emerge from that.


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