|Volume 92, Issue 59
Wednesday, January 13, 1999
sleeping with the enemy
Carleton football under the knife
By John Intini
The dream of winning a national championship or sparking a last minute drive is no longer the Carleton Ravens football team's No. 1 priority. Instead, thanks to a recommendation from the university's administration, the team is fighting for their lives.
Last Thursday Drew Love, Carleton's director of athletics, recommended the dismantling of the school's football program as part of a series of recommendations regarding the university's athletic program. According to Love, the proposal is an attempt to cut costs, provide greater gender equity and make better use of the school's resources.
Love also said the team's poor performance on the field and attendance make the annual $150,000 football budget expendable. The club's only winning season over the last 10 years was in 1996 when they went 5-3.
"With the exception of the Panda Game, attendance has been less than reported at our home games," Love said. "At most games it is announced that attendance is 1,500 when the truth is there are less than 700."
Ravens head coach Donn Smith described the move as a slap in the face and is angered more of an effort was not made to find a solution to the problem. Smith claimed that through his efforts in recruiting rookies, the university benefits from $600,000 per year in student tuition.
He is also angered by administration using football as the scapegoat for gender equality. Carleton has nine women's varsity teams compared to eight men's teams.
"I do not believe that gender discrimination gets you anywhere," he said. "Until women introduce full contact football it is unfair to carve up the football program for the sake of other sports."
The excuse of the club being a poor performer was another point which did not sit well with the disgruntled coach, citing a lack of a phased program as a factor in making recruitment difficult.
Ravens' captain Jason Kralp said the decision has put the young club up in arms and if a decision is made to cancel the program at least 80 per cent of the team will transfer schools.
"Guys on the team are quite shocked," said Kralp, the Ravens' all-star free safety. "At Carleton, as soon as you leave the football office there is no support. Academia and athletics just don't mix here."
Kralp also said looking younger players in the eyes and telling them the school might not have a program next year is a difficult thing to do.
"It is very frustrating to look at a young guy on the team who may not have dressed this year but has real potential and tell him the program may not be around next year," Kralp said.
Love wanted to make clear the proposal is currently just a recommendation and a final decision, made by the school's president, Richard Van Loon, is expected in early spring. Formal responses to the recommendation will be accepted until Jan. 29.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999