RMU President Acknowledges No Votes Taken To Eliminate Hockey Programs – WPXI
PITTSBURGH – In his first public address since Robert Morris surprisingly knocked out the men’s and women’s hockey programs, School President Chris Howard confirmed Tuesday afternoon the exclusive reports from DK Pittsburgh Sports earlier today that there was actually no vote conducted by the board.
Rather, he asserted that the Trustees had reached a “consensus” after the decision had already been made, and he declined to define what “consensus” meant in this context. Or how many members have been solicited. Or why, to his knowledge, Kevin Colbert, general manager of the Steelers, resigned for lack of a vote.
“We’re not asking our directors to vote on this and they haven’t, but they came to a consensus,” Howard said during his Zoom with some media, including DK Pittsburgh Sports.
As our site reported on Tuesday morning, the decision was actually made unilaterally by Howard and Morgan O’Brien, the chairman of the board. The only two representatives of Robert Morris at this session were Howard and Chris King, the athletic director known to have nothing to do with the decision. All but one of the questions in the session were therefore directed to Howard.
The only one addressed to King was from the school’s student information service. In this context, King revealingly called it a “college decision.”
Howard issued the following statement on the situation:
“As painful as it is to shut down the NCAA’s Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey programs here at RMU, we have little choice. I know this decision came as a painful surprise to the student-athletes and many other members of our community. Over the past few years, RMU, like other schools, has had to make difficult strategic, operational and financial decisions and each of these choices has had a human impact. The location of the RMU Island Sports Center (located a few miles from campus) poses challenges in providing the upgrades necessary to maintain a Division I facility, although it is more than sufficient for club sports. and community play. Ice hockey has been our most expensive Division I sport in part due to low ticket sales and limited donations, as well as the inability to guarantee playing opportunities, conference revenue, or payouts. television contracts like some other sports. Direct hockey expenses alone already amount to over $ 1 million annually. It’s also worth noting that few universities our size offer the variety of Division I sports that RMU has run, and we are one of only three out of 108 schools in our Carnegie classification to offer this particular mix of sports. Institutions offering athletic programs of comparable size have endowments that RMU simply cannot match today. We looked at several options to keep Division I ice hockey going for the long haul, and it would take around $ 5-30 million to upgrade the facility, with no guarantee of attracting the kind of corporate support needed to secure that investment. .
“For several years, we have actively explored potential opportunities to fund improvements to our current facilities without success. Like virtually all schools, our biggest source of income at RMU is tuition fees, and we are simply unable to pass these costs on to our students as we emerge from a global pandemic. The hard truth is that RMU has two programs that have been very successful on the ice and have helped graduate student-athletes with great character and intelligence. However, this success has been guaranteed by the university at a cost that is no longer sustainable. To keep teams sustainable, it would take at least $ 10 million and up to $ 25 million, both to cover long-term operating costs and facility upgrades. I know it doesn’t make what we announced last week easier for those directly affected, but it’s the reality we have to reckon with as a university. “
Not all hockey players receive a 100% scholarship, however, RMU said it will honor all of their scholarships at the same percentage they would have received had the program not been interrupted.
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