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The U.S. Olympic Committee and six National Governing Bodies write to James Madison Univ. against its decision to drop 10 sports teams

October 12, 2006

Mr. Linwood H. Rose, President
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Mr. Jeff Bourne, Athletics Director
James Madison University
Godwin Hall 206-A
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the United States Olympic Committee and our National Governing Bodies in response to the recent decision by James Madison University to eliminate 10 sports from its intercollegiate athletic program beginning in 2007:

. men's and women's archery
. men's cross country
women's fencing
. men's and women's gymnastics
. men's indoor track
. men's outdoor track
. men's swimming
. men's wrestling

This decision is particularly troubling to the United States Olympic Committee and our National Governing Bodies because all of the sports you have chosen to discontinue have a direct connection to the Olympic Movement.

It is well documented that the spirit of the Title IX law is to ensure opportunities for participation in sport are proportional and fair for men and women. The intent of the law is not to discontinue sport programs for men or to eliminate Olympic sports from a university's athletic program.

James Madison University has a long and honorable tradition of supporting a diverse range of intercollegiate athletic opportunities for its student body. We have seen universities across the nation inappropriately use Title IX as an excuse to justify the elimination of sport programs, and far too often the programs dropped are Olympic
sports. In a society that is faced with critical challenges such as character development, alarming rates of obesity and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle among America's youth, should we not be looking for ways to increase sport activity, rather than curtailing it?

Your decision may allow James Madison University to get closer to its proportionality goals, but it does great harm to the hundreds of student-athletes who currently represent your university so proudly as they participate in these sports. In addition, your decision damages the hopes and dreams of the next generation of athletes who aspire to one day represent our country in the Olympic Games.

The more we limit opportunities for our youth, the more difficult it will be to instill the positive values that are derived from participation in sport. On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee and our National Governing Bodies, we respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision to drop these sports. The leaders of the National Governing Bodies for the sports you plan to discontinue, in addition to the United States Olympic Committee, would welcome the opportunity to work with you in identifying viable alternatives to keep these intercollegiate sports alive at James Madison University.

We appreciate your attention in this matter and look forward to your response.


James E. Scherr
Chief Executive Officer

Rich Bender
Executive Director
USA Wrestling

Brad Camp
Executive Director
USA Archery

Craig Masback
Chief Executive Officer
USA Track & Field

Michael Massik
Executive Director
U.S. Fencing

Steve Penny
USA Gymnastics

Chuck Wielgus
Executive Director
USA Swimming

cc: Peter Ueberroth, Chairman of the Board
USOC Board of Directors
National Governing Body Executive Directors
Untitled Document
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