How can any sports athlete at Hofstra University feel safe considering the decision by the University to terminate their successful football program in order to provide more educational scholarships? A football program at most universities has its ups and downs, unfortunately losing money at times, and this applies to all athletic programs at a university. However, Hofstra took a drastic approach by terminating its football program where other universities would have found a way to restructure and renew the program, especially a football program where scholarships are involved. If the administration continues with the same logic that the money is better spent for nonathletic scholarships, what Hofstra athlete now or in the future can feel secure in its decision to play for the University?
It is clear that Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz doesn’t see the benefits of athletics in terms of its tremendous intrinsic value to a university. All Ivy League Universities and other top schools in the country understand the value of athletic programs to their schools. In fact, from 1937 until recently Hofstra use to understand this value as well. That being the case, how can a wrestling or field hockey recruit from high school roll the dice on Hofstra after it has cut it’s strongest and most highly publicized program without any notice?
A high school recruit need only look at how these football players were treated when the news of the termination was disseminated. The school never even notified the parents of the student athletes. They never provided social guidance or advisory services for the students affected after the news was released. The bad news was provided in a cold statement by the athletic director and then he simply walked out of the room to let the kids fend for themselves.
If I was an 18 year old outstanding baseball player considering coming to Hofstra University to play, I would immediately scratch the school off my list. Why take the risk?
Brad Gerstman is a partner at Gotham Government Relations.
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