Wright State Board of Trustees begins review process of athletic programs

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FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Wright State University began the process of reviewing its athletics department Tuesday. 

The Board of Trustees says it’s part of an important review that will take into account the financial and community impact of the university’s various programs. 

The board made two things very clear during the virtual meeting: the athletics program is successful and a great benefit to Wright State as a whole, but also that this review is the right thing to do for the overall health of the university. 

Board member Douglas Fecher says, “We have a really good athletics program here. But that’s a different question than the one the committee has been tasked to look at.” 

Board members say Wright State athletics are successful and valuable but add it’s their responsibility to review the program just as they review academics. Tuesday’s meeting is kicking off what could be a lengthy process as they analyze the financial challenges facing the university. 

Board member Marty Grunder says, “Besides the trends facing Wright State and universities across the country, the winds of change for in collegiate athletics are also in the air.” 

Board member and former basketball player Brittney Whiteside said the women’s recent NCAA tournament upset win is a perfect example of the value of athletics. “To see our student athletes on the national stage be able to represent Wright State in that way is really positive for the institution as a whole.” 

Grunder says the Board will approach this process with an open mind. “I think it’s imperative that given the size of this decision and how emotionally charged it is for many in our community, we must be thorough and responsible in the way we approach this.” 

The process could take two years. Grunder says they have no preconceived notions of where this work will take them. “To those who are passionate about Wright State athletics, who may be concerned by the very existence of this committee, I asked you to take a breath and relax.” 

Tuesday’s meeting also focused on hiring an outside firm to help evaluate the program. In the next few weeks board members will gather information about potential research firms to learn how much it could cost and how long it could take. 

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