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UDC commissions task force for intercollegiate athletics

December 12, 2004

Washington, D.C. —University of the District of Columbia president, Dr. William L. Pollard, has commissioned a blue-ribbon task force of national leaders in athletics to chart the course for intercollegiate athletics at UDC. The sixteen-person task force held its first meeting December 9 on the University’s Van Ness campus.

“This is an excellent opportunity for us to closely review the role of athletics in the University of the District of Columbia,” said Dr. Pollard. “On a higher level, however, this also gives us an opportunity to explore the role of intercollegiate athletics in any institution of higher education in the nation.”

This distinguished task force, whose members include leaders in academia, intercollegiate athletics and business, will develop recommendations for the future of athletics at the only public university in the District of Columbia. The establishment of this task force is a critical component of the University’s desire to address the NCAA violations disclosed in the University’s internal investigation into the operations of the Division II institution’s Intercollegiate Athletics program, an investigation which led the University to announce on November 18 that the 2004-2005 men and women’s basketball seasons were cancelled.

The task force will study if an intercollegiate athletic program is compatible with the academic mission of UDC as the only urban land-grant university in the country. If they find such a program is appropriate for the University, then the task force will make recommendations as to the appropriate level of participation for UDC.

Dr. Joseph Lang, former Athletics Director of Georgetown University has agreed to serve on the task force, referring to this as a great opportunity for all concerned. “This is the perfect opportunity for the University of the District of Columbia to take a look at the place of athletics in the life of a university,” said Lang. “This is a very useful exercise. Whatever decision is ultimately made, it will be the result of significant input from a wide constituency.”

Joining Dr. Lang on the task force is Professor Percy Bates, Director of Programs for Educational Opportunity in the School of Education and faculty representative to the Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor . Professor Perry Wallace, a member of the law faculty at the Washington College of Law at American University and the first African-American to play varsity basketball in the Southeastern Conference, has also agreed to be a task force member, as has Mr. Michael Bennett, a v ice president with Northrop Grumman Information Technology and a representative to the National Bar Association’s Board of Governors. Michelle V. Bryan, acting General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Laidlaw International andf ormer U.S. Airways executive vice president-corporate affairs and general counsel will be a task force member, along with Dr. Donald N. Langenberg, Chancellor Emeritus to the University System of Maryland and a current member of the UDC Board of Trustees. Representatives of the University faculty, administration and student government have also been included in the task force.

The decision to convene the task force is part of in-depth review of intercollegiate athletics at UDC, but according to Dr. Pollard, the University will ultimately benefit from the process. “This has been a difficult process for us,” said Pollard. “But as we evaluate our program, we have a unique opportunity to create a model program that reflects our commitment to all our students, not just student athletes. I also believe this can become a model for other colleges and universities. Students must…and will…come first.”

 

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