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May 4, 2001

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III today announced plansto address the recent recommendations of the Strategic Planning Task Forceon Athletics in a meeting with U.Va. coaches and senior athleticsdepartment officials.

Casteen divided the recommendations into two groups — academic andfinancial. He assigned those related to athletes’ academic success toPeter W. Low, the University’s provost and chief academic officer, and toCarolyn M. Callahan, the University’s veteran NCAA faculty representativewho chaired the athletics task force. These recommendations includestrategies for (1) improving communication among athletics, academic, andadmissions personnel, (2) improving academic advising and support services,and (3) enrolling more incoming student-athletes in the University’s summertransition program.

“The task force sought to improve the student-athletes’ academicexperience so we could provide an education within the context of ourcommitment to sustaining excellence in learning and teaching, and toteaching students the University’s value system, including the student-runhonor system,” Casteen said. “Over the years, deans, faculty members, andcertainly our students have worked hard to build extraordinarily highgraduation rates. We admire that accomplishment and intend to sustain it.That goal requires exactly the diligence and commitment the task forcerecommended.”

Casteen and Leonard Sandridge, executive vice president and chiefoperating officer, will work together on the recommendations for financingvarsity athletics to ensure students have the best and broadest range ofcompetitive sports from which to choose. Issues include the base adequacyof the athletics budget, available economies in operating the program, andstrategies to comply with NCAA regulations as well as with applicable law,including Title IX.

Casteen said many of the task force’s recommendations concern programmanagement rather than Board of Visitors policy. He and Sandridge consultregularly with University Rector John P. Ackerly III of Richmond and theboard’s committee on student affairs and athletics on such matters.

“The recommendations on the future financing of varsity athleticspoint us toward many options, including increasing revenue throughfundraising and raising fees,” Casteen said. “We will examine all of theoptions presented by the task force and will consult widely with officialsfacing similar problems at other schools. We’re not in the kind of crisisthat has driven others to act precipitously or to make behind-the-scenechanges. Our programs’ current finances are sound. But we have seen thesigns of significant future distress and do not want that. We want tosustain the good aspects of our current programs and support our people.

“We will analyze every option and explore every avenue,” Casteen said. “Inthe end, we will do what is best for the University and for our students.Changes will not come overnight. We will continue to consult with personsaffected by any changes that will have to come if new revenues are notfound. Donors and boosters who can mobilize resources to sustain programswill alleviate many of the harshest prospects by helping us build theendowments necessary to operate sports that cannot pay their own way.

“The task force focused everyone’s attention on hard choices, but it alsopointed us toward new options. Academics, athletics, and sound managementfunction here hand in hand and not at cross-purposes. The goal is to keepthat happening.”

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