A working group led by William & Mary Director of Athletics Terry Driscoll released a report today outlining a roadmap of success for Tribe Athletics.
The report, which is available on the Tribe Athletics website, is not about keeping up with the major conferences, Driscoll said. It’s about being strategic with limited resources, mapping a vision for the future and affirming William & Mary’s identity as a university that does athletics right – a place where athletes can be exceptional students while at the same time be part of a championship experience, he said.
“Tribe Athletics has held firm to the core values of William & Mary,” Driscoll said. “Our athletes excel in the classroom and in competition, and we have much of which to be proud. Yet, we also know there are opportunities to do even more, to be even better, and to further enhance our student-athletes’ experience. William & Mary ranks among the nation’s elite academic institutions. Tribe Athletics should aspire to the same level of excellence.”
“We are at a unique juncture in the department’s history and the time has come to define a vision for the future and move confidently towards it.”
The Committee on Competitive Excellence, which includes staff, alumni, and faculty representatives, was charged last year by President Taylor Reveley to examine what it would take for Tribe Athletics to achieve and sustain a level of greater success in the university’s conference, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The report also outlines how athletic success can enhance a school’s national recognition. The report, titled “A Championship Experience for Every Student-Athlete and Every Fan,” details funding needs for scholarships, operating expenses and facility improvements as well as enhancements to streamline current policies and practices, including improving the game day experience for fans.
Essential to meeting these needs, in whole or part, is a significant increase in private philanthropy for Tribe Athletics. The report does not recommend an increase in the percentage of athletics costs covered by student fees – in fact, it projects that the percentage will decline as the overall budget increases through private donations. To accomplish what is outlined in the report, private giving must be the driver.
“An appraisal was needed of what it would take to provide our program with resources consistent with those of other programs in the Colonial Athletic Association, as well as resources conducive to a higher level of competitive excellence than we now enjoy,” President Reveley said. “The committee has worked very hard. Its report speaks to these issues, boldly. Already donors to W&M athletics have been far more generous than those of any other CAA school. To do what’s sketched in the report will require an even more serious commitment from alumni and alumnae who believe strongly in the value and potential of Tribe athletics.”
Reveley added the report’s recommendations are worth a close look.
“With the requisite philanthropic support of those in the William & Mary family who most appreciate the value of intercollegiate athletics, the results can be sweet indeed,” he said.
The report, released just three weeks after the conclusion of one of the most successful seasons in Tribe men’s basketball history and in the middle of “March Madness,” notes the significant impact a trip to the NCAA tournament can have on an institution’s overall brand. The recommendations by the committee, however, extend far beyond just basketball and provide a blueprint for greater competitive success across the board for W&M’s varsity teams.
“Any unit at the College should be thinking long-term. That’s an important function,” said Robert Archibald, Chancellor Professor of Economics at William & Mary and a member of the Committee. “This was a really excellent long-term look at the needs of the Athletic Department.”
According to the report, an additional $8.1 million in private gifts needs to be raised through the Athletic Department’s Annual Fund to support increases in scholarships for student-athletes, salaries for coaches and staff and other operating needs. Private giving would also have to fund up to $125 million in facility needs, such as a new multisport indoor practice facility, the renovation or replacement of William & Mary Hall and a swimming facility, according to the report. The report notes that many Tribe sports already provide a championship experience and have facilities that provide a championship experience for fans – William & Mary has won by far more Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championships since the conference’s inception in 1985 than any other school – but several fall short of the goal of competitive success and facilities.
“For those sports, bridging the gap will require transformative investments,” reads the executive summary of the report. “These resources must come from private philanthropy, and the pursuit of these gifts must not detract from other William & Mary advancement efforts.”
The committee began its work last summer and evaluated a number of aspects of Tribe Athletics, including facilities, finance, human resources, admissions and financial aid, marketing and media, and fan experience.
“Creating a championship experience in every sport, or sustaining the championship experience for sports already competing at that level, is not solely a matter of spending more money,” the report states. “An integrated set of actions is required to boost Tribe Athletics’ competitiveness.”
The report highlights four transformational investments:
The report highlights three key operational necessities: