Executive Summary of the Football Review Committee Report
The charge of the Football Review Committee from Interim President Avis Stewart was to “provide an overview of what is required to support a viable intercollegiate football program at Earlham College.” The committee was not asked for, nor did it provide, a recommendation concerning the future of football at Earlham College. The FRC submitted its final report to President Stewart and the Earlham College Board of Trustees on April 16, 2019.
In keeping with the charge, the report consisted of the following sections:
- Historical overview of Earlham College football
- Synopsis of athletic department external reviews
- Quality of the recruited football student-athlete experience
- Health and safety risks for football student-athletes
- Optimal number of student-athletes needed to build a competitive program
- Number of peer colleges that sponsor football
- Number of Quaker colleges that sponsor football
- Programmatic and staffing costs required to sponsor a competitive football program
- The impact football has on the college’s enrollment and diversity
- Concluding reflections
The final report was 32 pages in length and can be briefly summarized as follows:
In its 130-year history Earlham football has earned a winning percentage of .370. Earlham’s most successful years were in the 1960s and early 1970s. In recent decades, external reviews of the football program have pointed to persistent structural problems that were never adequately resolved. As a result of these recurring problems, the overall football student-athlete experience at Earlham has been subpar for a number of years. A well established and competitive football program can prove beneficial to increasing a college’s enrollment and diversity of student body.
A roster size of 80 or more student athletes is necessary to maintain a viable football program, and programmatic and staffing costs to sponsor a competitive program would be over $500,000. The report provides a brief overview of current national conversations regarding sports-related concussions and CTE.
In conclusion, the FRC emphasizes that should the Board decide to revitalize the football program: “A football renaissance at Earlham is only feasible with an ‘all in’ mentality. And the ‘all’ in that statement refers to the administration, the athletic director, board of trustees, development office, admissions, alumni and the wider Earlham community, who all must be willing to invest resources, energy, and long-term commitment to the project.”
The report begins and ends by acknowledging, and expressing gratitude, for the contributions to the Earlham community made by football student athletes over the years.
Vince Punzo, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Faculty Athletic Representative