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Thread: Rutgers Fencing will be gone in a year.

  1. #1
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    Rutgers Fencing will be gone in a year.

    Here is an excerpt from an e-mail that was sent to me this morning. I am a recent graduate of the school, but I thought that people might like to know, especially those who might be looking to Rutgers as a prospect in the near future:

    In addition, the university will eliminate six intercollegiate varsity sports in New Brunswick/Piscataway: men's tennis, men's fencing, women's fencing, men's swimming and diving, men's heavyweight crew, and men's lightweight crew. Please know that we will maintain these sports at the varsity level for the coming academic year, and we expect that almost all will be offered as club sports in the future. Furthermore, we will honor all scholarships for affected student athletes. In the same way, we will honor the scholarships of all students entering Rutgers this fall under the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program (OSRP), despite the Governor's line-item veto of state funding to support new OSRP scholarships.

    Rutgers will also absorb the budget shortfall by cutting back on the number of
    courses offered in the coming year. We will eliminate as many as 800 courses and course sections while working hard so that as many students as possible can still get the classes they need to progress in their majors and to graduate in a timely manner.
    This is further evidence that New Jersey is one of the most difficult states to live in. I have nothing against Corzine, he has to do what is right for the greatest amount of people in the state. There are just way too many interests in the state, and everyone has their hand out.

    It's strange that they can cut the onlyteam at the school with any national championships. Alexis Jemal won the individual championship in saber in 2003, and Paul Luciano and John Gringeri won the national epee title in 1996. We also won a team championship in 1949. Ralph Tedeschi (1949), Paul Pesthy (1949, 1950), and Alex Treves (1964, 1965) were individual champions for Rutgers.

    Thoughts anyone?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MyrddinsPrecint's Avatar
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    oh dear. USACFCs will get bigger!


    And the first year Rutgers will fence USACFCs, it'll be at Smith.

    Interesting.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sabreur's Avatar
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    That sucks.

    My college team folded the year after I graduated. From varsity sport to nothing. It was one of the most emotional experiences I've gone through, and not in a good way.

    MR
    Why sabre? Because you don't take heads with the point.

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    Senior Member RoninX's Avatar
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    Chin up guys. MSUs varsity program was cut two years before got there, and the year that I graduated we still were competitive with Varsity programs (2nd place behind ND for my epee squad in '02), we would have placed as a team if MF hadn't choked (j/k guys). Anyway you can still be competitive individually and as a team, it takes alot of commitment though.
    "I cannot ensure success, I can only endeavor to deserve it" - Capt. John Paul Jones

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    Senior Member campb1pr's Avatar
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    On a related note...

    On the subject of NCAA programs - James Madison University is looking for a new head coach. It is a varsity women's program, not one of the top 10, but has been decent in the past - especially for a non-scholarship program <warning - ex-coach speaking, so modesty pretty much thrown out>.

    PM or email me for more info - don't need to hijack this thread, or advertise here, but I don't want to see any more schools go the way that it looks like RU is going. And if they don't find a coach, I have a feeling (gut only) that JMU will opt out too.

    There used to be a very vibrant NCAA fencing community - and while the clubs are doing great things, there is just a bit more of a chance that collegiate fencing gets any journalistic cover beyond campus media if it is an NCAA sport - at least it has pictures in Indy, and in various NCAA pubs...

    Warning - <soap box>

    Back on the original thought of the thread - the state/school has given the alums, the fencing community, and the general public one thing here - 9 months. Get all the tennis, swimming, fencing and crew alums/supporters/parents/NGBs together for a campaign. Out of those sports, there is at least one state legislator who is affected by this, and will be on your side. Get out there and politic - and don't be afraid to play sleazy. At JMU, there was a recommendation to completely cut 13 (out of 28) sports out of the varsity program, and after a year of hard campaigning by all involved, the governing board of the school backed off. (they did cut all scholarships, but it was at least a partial victory.)

    Get out all the addresses of the Board of Governors, and write letters to all of them. Call your legislator, etc. All the standard public policy answers. Just be CIVIL! Do not degenerate into name calling and hate mail. This will get your cause dropped faster than any other way.

    </soap box>
    Last edited by campb1pr; 07-14-2006 at 05:58 PM.
    "A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people" -- James Madison
    "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it" -- Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schibilia
    Thoughts anyone?
    That's appalling! Is there anything that can be done about it? I remember when my alma mater cut its wrestling program (probably to satisfy Title IX requirements), the wrestlers, former wrestlers, and everybody they could enlist on their side, put together a massive campaign that was able to get the program restored. The circumstances aren't really the same, but maybe such a campaign could work in this case -- I don't know.

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    Senior Member kilo_foxtrot's Avatar
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    That's terribly painful, to be sure... painful enough for me to even forego the standard Jersey-bashing. I know that I would be quite upset if my club, a university organization not in the NCAA, folded. As a college student who enjoys fencing, this is somewhat scary.

    On the flip side of the coin, if the money isn't there, the money just plain isn't there. The championships from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, though nice to remember, presumably have little bearing on the decision. The two latest are probably the most significant in the minds of the deciding officials, with one of those having taken place ten years ago. I don't know what the team size is, or how they regularly place... but the fact that they're a varsity sport suggests to me that their hands are somewhat tied in the matter unless, like above people have suggested, someone brings about a change of heart in those who make the decisions. It is an expensive sport to support.

    Good luck to all those Rutgers folks... we can only hope for the best, though it seems the worst may be likely.

    What is the current state of NCAA fencing, anyway?
    "...But that doesn't mean that sabreurs aren't fun. They are, and tend to be better kissers as well which is more than reason enough to take my coach's advice and hang out with the sabreurs my age." - WP (best coach advice ever)

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    Senior Member RITFencing's Avatar
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    Fencing isn't as expensive as some other sports to support, KF; we can use any gymnasium to practice and compete in, unlike many outdoor sports (how much exactly do goal posts in football cost, or an outdoor track? An olympic swimming pool? A tennis court?)

    Fencing teams don't need too much support in terms of equipment and travel because even though the equipment is fairly expensive, it's still nothing compared to crew or equestrian and the teams are relatively small. Also, a top notch fencing coach doesn't cost a school nearly as much as a top notch football or basketball coach. How much does Kornel make every year at NYU? Not nearly as much as he's worth, but that's all he's going to get from them, because fencing isn't a big name sport.
    "If I were ever to challenge you to a duel, your best bet would be battle axes in a very dark basement." Misquoted from The Prisoner

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    Quote Originally Posted by RITFencing
    Fencing isn't as expensive as some other sports to support, KF; we can use any gymnasium to practice and compete in, unlike many outdoor sports (how much exactly do goal posts in football cost, or an outdoor track? An olympic swimming pool? A tennis court?)

    Fencing teams don't need too much support in terms of equipment and travel because even though the equipment is fairly expensive, it's still nothing compared to crew or equestrian and the teams are relatively small. Also, a top notch fencing coach doesn't cost a school nearly as much as a top notch football or basketball coach. How much does Kornel make every year at NYU? Not nearly as much as he's worth, but that's all he's going to get from them, because fencing isn't a big name sport.
    Fencing teams also don't generate the same kind of revenue as those other sports.

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    Sorry to see this (especially being an ex high school fencer from NJ) but this also happened at my school UMD back in 1980. We went from NCAA top 5 to getting axed in one year. Same with Clemson a couple years later. Navy with their 100 year program around 1990. The trend has slowed but this has to be a major blow for the sport at the NCAA level.
    Last edited by sabreman; 07-14-2006 at 06:52 PM.

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    Senior Member RITFencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prototoast
    Fencing teams also don't generate the same kind of revenue as those other sports.
    Very true.
    "If I were ever to challenge you to a duel, your best bet would be battle axes in a very dark basement." Misquoted from The Prisoner

    "Technical excellence is the antecedant of tactical creativity." - Nat Goodhartz

    But those things which belong neither to God nor to Caeser, feeleth free to writeth them off, for yea, they are deductable.

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    Senior Member seak's Avatar
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    the Navy situation had other issues involved

    I think Rutgers fencing has scholarships which makes it more expensive then merely equipment and travel, and its a non - revenue sport

    While it is sad to see Rutgers lose thier varsity status, I hope they will embrace what opportunities are still available to them. Many former varsity schools are now (in various forms) thriving clubs. Both Clemson and UMD (after experiencing a dead period ) have come back and fence in USACFC's and other collegiate competitions. Other varsity schools that recently lost varsity status have even kept their coaches and are fencing at the club level.

    Unlike 20yrs ago there is now a vibrant club fencing community for schools without varsity programs. I hope that rather then disapearing Rutgers follows the path of William and Mary, MSU and others and that a strong fencing club continues to exist there
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    I am deeply saddened by this news, having fenced there in the mid- 80's. I hope that they indeed do survive, and perhaps even re- group as a varsity sport one day. With the great football program they've had there - yes, I'm dripping with sarcasm, it seems perhaps the wrong sport has been cut,(can't forget about that powerhouse men's basketball program either). Oh those great memories on the banks of the Raritan....
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    Senior Member AndrewH's Avatar
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    Yea so I woke up to a reporter calling to ask my opinion on all this. And that was the first I heard of it.

    I suggested that if they really want to save money, perhaps they could start with the university president's salary.
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    Senior Member campb1pr's Avatar
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    In reply to Kilo Foxtrot

    KF - the state of NCAA fencing hovers between grim and serious. There are people here on the boards who can speak with more authority as current coaches and athletes, but I'll take a shot at it... (never let actual informed opinion get in the way of your own, right?)

    The sport of fencing currently enjoys the "Olympic Sport" exception to the minimum requirements for sport sponsorship in the NCAA to continue to have a championship. And it was not tabbed as an "emerging sport for women" so it does not enjoy that protected status.

    The regionals and the championships continue to be good to excellent tournaments, with (I think) sufficient to decent resources available to the NCAA Fencing Committee.

    The biggest problem is the number of athletes and programs that participate in the events. Because of the limitations placed on NCAA athletes, and the competition requirements, when other varsity programs dry up and blow away, it hurts the competition within the NCAA ranks. While the top programs still attract top people, and have amazing programs, what you get is an increase in the difference between the "haves" and "have nots" and therefore, poorer competition. With less teams and programs on their own levels, whichever they are, there is less of a chance to convince athletic departments to give fencing any travel budget. There is less reason to spend $30K to $40K a year for a great coach (about what some of the top coaches make - minus a few who are truly well paid). All these things lead to poor fencing and lack of good competetive opportunities. And this leads to less good athletes choosing NCAA programs, and it becomes a vicious cycle. There are many excellent people involved in NCAA fencing, who have dedicated good portions of their lives to it, and I know they are upset to see each and every good program fall.

    Yes, when a good varsity program dies, there are often club opportunities. And some of our best fencers come from collegiate clubs, but as I said in my previous post, the NCAA is a nice vehicle for at least some publicity and some public exposure. The USACFCs and the MACFAs and NIWFAs just don't have the PR machine that is the NCAA. With a press release from the NCAA, you get a few national press outlets picking up the story. Closely read the box scores the week after the NCAA Champs in Chicago, New York, LA, etc. You will probably see the results in there somewhere and some time. How likely is that with a club competition, no matter how good the fencing? Are you going to see that after Summer Nationals? No matter what other good and great opportunities exist, fencing only benefits from NCAA participation. Each team that dies decreases that participation just that much. And as each program dies, the percentage that is hurt gets larger.

    Just think - until approximately 25 years ago - the Big 10 had a fencing championship. And I think that other power conferences did too. With the increased media coverage of all college sports (ESPN, CSTV, etc.) imagine if we still had conference championships in some of the BCS conferences. You'd see collegiate fencing on TV!

    Long answer to a short question. Sorry.
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    Senior Member kilo_foxtrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by campb1pr
    Long answer to a short question. Sorry.
    Don't be. Thank you very much! I appreciate it. I have no experience whatsoever with NCAA fencing, and that was very insightful.
    "...But that doesn't mean that sabreurs aren't fun. They are, and tend to be better kissers as well which is more than reason enough to take my coach's advice and hang out with the sabreurs my age." - WP (best coach advice ever)

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    T-Shirts and newspapers

    I recently created a t-shirt for Rutgers Fencing. It was to commemorate our 20th straight year sending fencers to NCAA Championships. I am thinking about finding the people who were in charge of making the decision of cutting our program and sending them each a shirt.

    Here is a link to the rough design...

    http://www.schibs.net/users/fencingnet/tshirt.png

    Andrew, I also got a call from the Express Times yesterday, here is a link to the article:

    Athletes Outraged About Sports Cuts

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    Senior Member kilo_foxtrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schibilia
    I recently created a t-shirt for Rutgers Fencing. It was to commemorate our 20th straight year sending fencers to NCAA Championships. I am thinking about finding the people who were in charge of making the decision of cutting our program and sending them each a shirt.

    Here is a link to the rough design...

    http://www.schibs.net/users/fencingnet/tshirt.png

    Andrew, I also got a call from the Express Times yesterday, here is a link to the article:

    Athletes Outraged About Sports Cuts
    I think the shirt thing might not be a bad idea.
    "...But that doesn't mean that sabreurs aren't fun. They are, and tend to be better kissers as well which is more than reason enough to take my coach's advice and hang out with the sabreurs my age." - WP (best coach advice ever)

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    Senior Member AndrewH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schibilia
    Andrew, I also got a call from the Express Times yesterday, here is a link to the article:

    Athletes Outraged About Sports Cuts
    Good article. Here's mine: Rutgers' Cuts Leaving Deep Wounds. Unfortunately they didn't print my comment about cutting the U. president's salary instead.

    At least we're actually getting press coverage.
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    The first I heard of the cut was a voicemail left by a sports writer from the Starledger asking me how I felt about the situation.

    The t shirt idea is great Jesse. I think reminding them that we are a winning team may help the situation.

    I was thinking of some alternatives to cutting whole programs. I don't see why each sport can't endure a small budget cut in order to save all of the sports programs.

    For instance, fencing doesn't need such a large equipment budget. Also, we don't need to go to a NAC every year.

    Other sports could do the same. Volleyball does not need a resurfaced gym floor every year. Football and basketball do not need new uniforms.

    I think there are so many ways around this situation, we just need to take the time to explore them.

    Another option is asking for money from alumni. NYU asks for 25-50 dollars a year from their fencing alumni, and it really helps out the program.

    Anyone else have suggestions?

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