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Tulane University Plans the Return of Athletic Programs to Full Strength

posted January 27, 2007 @ 9:09 PM  |  College and University Swimming category

Phased Process to Begin in Fiscal Year 2008-09

Jan. 24, 2007

New Orleans - Tulane University announced today that the Board of Tulane University recently voted to return Green Wave athletics to full Division I-A status by the academic year 2010-11 when Tulane will field teams in 16 intercollegiate sports.

Tulane has been participating in intercollegiate athletics at the Division I-A level with a reduced number of programs (eight) since Hurricane Katrina closed the campus for the fall 2005 semester.

"The Board of Tulane recently approved a plan for athletics emanating from the Renewal Plan adopted in December 2005, which will bring Tulane's athletics programs into full compliance with the NCAA's Division I-A membership criteria by fiscal year 2011," Tulane President Scott Cowen said.

"The plan is fiscally responsible and supportive of our aspiration to continue as a model Division I-A program. Tulane is very proud of its student-athletes and believes the board-approved plan is in the best long-term interests of the university and the broader community," Cowen said.

Eight additional teams -- women's tennis, women's golf, men's outdoor track, men's cross country, men's tennis, women's swimming and diving, women's bowling and women's soccer -- will be phased in over a three-year period, beginning in the fall of 2008.

"Right after Katrina our student-athletes proudly carried the Tulane name across the country as they competed for our university and for our city," said Rick Dickson, Tulane's director of athletics. "The board's decision makes Green Wave athletics whole again and ensures our student-athletes can continue to represent this university in their customary first-class manner."

The reduction in programs was part of the university's Renewal Plan, a university-wide plan to strengthen and focus Tulane's academic mission and ensure financial stability following the devastation caused by Katrina.

As part of the Renewal Plan process, an ad hoc committee of the board was established to develop a plan to bring Tulane's athletics programs back into compliance with the NCAA's Division I-A membership criteria by the end of fiscal year 2011, consistent with a five-year exemption from the NCAA's requirement of fielding 16 sports.

"In 2005 when we implemented the Renewal Plan, we said we would bring back our sports on a time line based on the recovery of New Orleans and the university and within the time frame permitted by the NCAA," said Dickson.

The board's decision comes one year into the waiver period, allowing plenty of time to implement in an orderly fashion the addition of the eight sports, said Dickson. "The group examined this from every angle and we have an excellent plan to ensure that we will be ready to start scheduling, recruiting and competing according to the board's time line as well as the five-year exemption."

Since Katrina, Green Wave athletes have been competing in eight sports at the Division I-A level -- football, baseball, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and women's indoor and outdoor track and cross country.

With all 16 teams in competition by early 2011, Tulane will be in full compliance with the NCAA's Division I-A membership criteria.

What they are saying about Tulane's reinstatement of its athletic programs:

Britton Banowsky, Commissioner, Conference USA: "The plan to reinstate the various sports programs at Tulane is just another step in a remarkable recovery for the University. We applaud the continued fine work of the administrators as they lead the community forward. All of us at Conference USA are pleased by this news."

Rick Jones, Tulane head baseball coach: "I believe the reinstatement of our athletic programs represents the long term commitment that we have in the Tulane athletic department and at Tulane University. Make no mistake, this was not an easy task and was one which took a great deal of planning, vision and the highest level of leadership from the Tulane athletic department and senior administration. I am often asked why I have stayed at Tulane University for so long and this is the reason why."

Sue Bower, former Tulane head women's golf coach: "Four of these sports won C-USA Championships in the 2004-05 academic year. This shows that these sports can be successful at the highest level at Tulane. With Tulane's continued commitment to success throughout its athletic department, I am confident all of these sports will resume bringing championship trophies back to Tulane.

This is a happy day for me personally. I have been at Tulane since 1992 and want nothing more than to see the entire athletic department thrive in the coming years. Prior to Katrina, Tulane had the best rounded athletic department in C-USA. This is a major step towards regaining that position. For these sports to be successful we will need to attract great coaches, and I look forward to being actively involved in that process.

The Tulane experience for all students is enhanced by the presence of a diverse group of outstanding student-athletes, a group which will grow with the addition of these eights sports. This reaffirms Tulane's commitment to major college athletics."

Danielle Irle, former Tulane head women's swimming coach: "The reinstatement of these sports makes our department whole again. This allows the rebuilding to actually be complete at some point. For all the great things we have done in the past 12 months, without those missing sports we were never really whole.

It allows us to provide a quality experience to more young aspiring student-athletes and allows us to offer much more diverse opportunities which mirror the mission of this great university. That is what sets Tulane apart overall.

We had great success in many of the sports that were discontinued so the reinstatement will allow us to reassert ourselves as one of the higher achieving departments across the board in the conference."

Amanda Williams, former swimmer and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee: "I believe the reinstatement of our sports is another positive sign that we are all working toward returning to some sense of normalcy here at Tulane. As a part of the greater New Orleans community, Tulane needs to take as many steps as we can to repair and improve all departments of our university after the devastation we experienced. The athletic department seems to be making progress to reach these goals."

Comments...

The year prior to Katrina. The Tulane women were Conference USA champions. (Only after the program had been re-instated one year before that!) http://media.www.thehullabaloo.com/media/storage/paper958/news/2005/03/04/Sports/Womens.Swimming.And.Diving.Captures.CUsa.Championship-1988608.shtml?sourcedomain=www.thehullabaloo.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com

Posted by Dean O. on January 27, 2007 @ 9:32 PM

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