Update: April 7, 2017

Annette Diorio, vice president for campus life, announced today that the timeline for the review of the athletics program has been extended past the spring semester.

“The work of our steering committee and consultant has been very productive. The review we are undertaking will benefit from extending the aggressive timeline we initially envisioned and continuing that collaboration,” said Diorio, who is serving as chair of the Athletics Review Steering Committee.

“The review is comprehensive in nature and will identify strategic choices that can be made to enhance both the experience of our students and the competitiveness of the athletic teams,” Diorio added. “Our students desire to be competing at the highest level, which includes being viable within the league for winning championships.”

The review has included surveys and interviews with athletics personnel, College administrators, faculty, students, trustees, alumni, and others. It also includes benchmarking the scope, costs, and outcomes of Lafayette’s athletics program with programs at other Patriot League and Division I FCS private institutions.

“I am pleased that the committee has invested so much time discussing the student experience and how we can best support student achievement at the highest level. We look forward to concluding this process in a thorough manner and making final recommendations in the fall on improving the College’s competitiveness in the Patriot League,” Diorio said.

Update: Nov. 16

Bruce McCutcheon, director of athletics, announced today that Inter-Collegiate Athletic Consulting has been selected to conduct a review of the athletics program and make recommendations on improving the College’s competitiveness in the Patriot League.

The firm, with offices in Garden City, N.Y., and College Station, Texas, has “a wealth of experience in athletics reviews and strategic planning,” McCutcheon said. “ICAC came highly recommended by Division I athletic directors I know and respect who have used ICAC in the past.”

McCutcheon also announced the membership of the Athletics Review Steering Committee that will work with ICAC through the review process and make final recommendations to the administration on a strategic plan by mid-April. Chaired by Annette Diorio, vice president for campus life, the committee includes 15 members of the Lafayette community, representing all constituents:

Dennis Bohn, head coach of men’s soccer
Roger Demareski, vice president for finance and administration
Annette Diorio (committee chair), vice president for campus life
Jeffrey Helm, associate professor of mechanical engineering and chair, Faculty Academic Policy Committee
Hal Kamine ’78, trustee
Cindy Linville ’80, president of the Maroon Club
Bruce McCutcheon, director of athletics
Elisabeth MacDonald ’81, chair, Board of Trustees’ Committee on Student Life
Greg MacDonald, vice president for enrollment management
Kaity McKittrick, deputy director of athletics/SWA
Fran Mustaro ’72, chair, Maroon Club’s Friends of Lafayette Football
Anna Ptasinski ’18, chair, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, women’s basketball
Kim Spang, vice president for development and college relations
David Stifel, professor of economics and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative

Story: Nov. 1

Lafayette announced that it will be engaging a consulting firm to conduct a review of the athletics program and make recommendations on improving the College’s competitiveness in the Patriot League.

Leopard Logo“We will conduct a thorough review of our intercollegiate athletics program and develop precise recommendations for a shared strategic direction that ensures the athletics program’s resources are aligned with the mission and goals of the institution,” says Bruce McCutcheon, director of athletics.

A committee made up of staff, faculty, and trustees is being formed to work with the consultant. The project, which will begin this month and conclude next April, will include interviews with athletics personnel, College administrators, faculty, students, trustees, and other internal and external constituents. It will benchmark the scope, costs, and outcomes of Lafayette’s athletics program with programs at other Patriot League and Division I FCS private institutions.

The committee will make recommendations to President Alison Byerly. “I look forward to hearing the committee’s recommendations about how we can best use our resources and commitment to develop outstanding student-athletes, and to be successful competitors in the Patriot League,” says Byerly.

Lafayette, a charter member of the Patriot League, fields teams in 23 NCAA Division I sports. Roughly 540 students, about 22 percent of Lafayette’s student body, participate in varsity athletics each year.

Categorized in: News and Features

6 Comments

  1. SSSssssSteve Mazer '72 says:

    There is no conceivable reason why fielding winning athletic teams is inconsistent with academic excellence. There is no reason why Lafayette cannot field teams that can compete with Patriot League and Ivy League schools. I’m very proud of our student athletes and the “clean” athletic program maintained by Lafayette.

    But there is also no reason why Lafayette athletics and academics are invisible in the New York Times, and other newspapers in a city so geographically close to Easton as New York. More times than not neither Lafayette scores nor articles about the games are published, unless apparently submitted by the other schools’ public information offices.

    Whether a fortunate or unfortunate circumstance, depending on your perspective, athletic success breeds admissions interest. Having worked as an Alumni Admissions Representative for over twenty years, and having represented Lafayette at numerous College Nights and Fairs, I found that name recognition was particularly important to prospective applicants. Both the failure to develop and nurture athletic competitiveness, and get coverage of the College and our teams by news outlets have a deleterious effect on name recognition, on admissions, and one would suspect the ability to recruit student athletes.

    I would heartily endorse any discussion that melds development of Lafayette’s athletic programs and scholarship programs into the college expansion project. Our student athletes deserve nothing less.

  2. Steve Mazer '72 says:

    There is no conceivable reason why fielding winning athletic teams is inconsistent with academic excellence. There is no reason why Lafayette cannot field teams that can compete with Patriot League and Ivy League schools. I’m very proud of our student-athletes and the “clean” athletic program maintained by Lafayette.

    But there is also no reason why Lafayette athletics and academics are invisible in the New York Times, and other newspapers in a city so geographically close to Easton as New York. More times than not neither Lafayette scores nor articles about the games are published, unless apparently submitted by the other schools’ public information offices.

    Whether a fortunate or unfortunate circumstance, depending on your perspective, athletic success breeds admissions interest. Having worked as an Alumni Admissions Representative for over twenty years, and having represented Lafayette at numerous college nights and fairs, I found that name recognition was particularly important to prospective applicants. Both the failure to develop and nurture athletic competitiveness and to get coverage of the College and our teams by news outlets have a deleterious effect on name recognition, on admissions, and one would suspect the ability to recruit student-athletes.

    I would heartily endorse any discussion that melds development of Lafayette’s athletic programs and scholarship programs into the college expansion project. Our student-athletes deserve nothing less.

  3. T. TaTom Gray '70 says:

    I must take issue with the comments by my fraternity brother, Bart Gershbein. I’ve been going back to the campus regularly over the past 46 years and have seen a gradual, but steady, shift away from the party school environment that he alludes to. The Greek system that fostered that environment no longer exists – with smaller numbers of Greek houses and those remaining fostering a different outlook.
    Athletics and academics are not only compatible but desirable. The scholar-athlete produces a more rounded adult and one who is better equipped to be a leader in society. This can be seen in other small liberal arts schools.
    However, the current Lafayette athletic program is on the mark on two of three goals of a collegiate athletic program. We consistently have extremely high graduation rates for our student athletes, with an emphasis on STUDENT. We run a “clean” program. If and when athletes don’t observe rules, they receive punishment similar to other students. We don’t have two separate standards.
    Where the Lafayette athletic program consistently fails is in fostering a winning environment. I can’t imagine how our young women and men feel when game after game and meet after meet we have to settle for less than winning. This is NOT what fosters success in the real world. There’s a difference between accepting a loss, learning from from that loss, and moving on, and being a perennial loser.
    My sincere hope is that this new endeavor will lead the Lafayette athletic program in a new direction that creates a winning environment, without any sacrifice of the other measures of success.

  4. William C Rappolt '67 says:

    This is not a contest between athletics and academics. This is an underperforming department that needs a thorough review. Our athletes on average have higher grade point averages, receives higher salary offers after graduation, and have other attributes that contribute to the life of the college. Athletics is the window through which the outside world views our management ability and our student-athletes represent our student body to alumni and non-alumni alike. Athletics knits our community together like no other activity.
    I support President Byerly’s review of this important department, and I hope it results in an improvement in the performance, in a way we can all be proud. We have not had a winning record in any sport for three years. We need to find out why, and fix it. No one gains or learns anything from losing all the time. I assume she would do the same to any department at the school that was in the same condition.

  5. Bart Gershbein'70 says:

    Academics vs Sports….Small school politics may shift towards sports…big mistake…Lafayette alumni will remain a second rate regional players or will we take the road less traveled seek academic technological excellence of the future…the student life culture now is heavy drinking fostered by an disengaged faculty
    Bring back the soul of Professor Lusardi!!

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