SJU Nordic Ski Teams Cut from Varsity Athletics: What you can do to help.
Coaches were notified that the Nordic Ski
program would be cut from a Varsity sport to club status on Tuesday, March 1st,
2011 in a meeting between Dave Johnson, Tom Stock, and Carol Howe-Veenstra.
Carol Howe-Veenstra, Tom Stock, Mary Geller,
and Fr. Doug Mullin informed the athletes at 5:15pm on Thursday, March 3rd,
No advanced warnings were given.
No coaches or athletes were involved or
informed of any discussions surrounding the decision to cut the program to a
Tom Stock, Father Mullin and Father Bob have
been responding to concerned groups and individuals with a copy-and-pasted
email that plainly states: â€œWe will not reconsider this decision.â€
What we are requesting:
your continued efforts in making an impact on the CSB and SJU administration. We need to prove to them that they did
not foresee the full ramifications of demoting this Varsity program to a club
PLEASE! Continue to send emails/letters to the
administration- see contacts below. Emily Ranta is collecting letters- when you email the
administration please CC them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please forward any response you
may receive to her; we do not want the administration taking a cookie-cutter
approach to this matter.
calls create a HUGE impact. The
offices of the vice presidents and athletic directors cannot ignore a phone
that rings off the hook for days on end.
Be prepared to ask them for their reasoning in cutting the program,
explain your role in the matter, and fight for the lifelong sport of Nordic
Donate: The alumni
are in the process of creating a phone bank to begin making calls requesting
donations to support the cause.
The current goal is to raise $50,000. You can send a monetary pledge to Oumar Cherif at email@example.com. More information to come soon.
The Benedictine values our schools were
founded on are not being upheld, particularly those surrounding â€œtaking
counselâ€ and practicing â€œjusticeâ€.
All athletes, upon joining a Varsity program here at CSB/SJU, are given
a copy of Saint Benedict's Rule for Fair Play in Sports. Below is an excerpt from the book under
â€œAthletic facilities on our campuses are
not isolated, self-contained enterprises. â€˜Physicalâ€™ education is integrated
into the rest of our curriculum and connected to every other discipline in our
liberal arts, such as anthropology, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology,
and sociology. Therefore, the broader community should be consulted for
important decisions on athletics that have effect beyond athletes and coaches,
such as in which sports a school should compete â€˜outside the wallsâ€™ or â€˜inside
the wallsâ€™ (see page 93), and the location, size, and amenities of facilities.â€
The administrators who made the decision
lacked important information surrounding the myriad of impacts that will ensue
upon cutting the Varsity Nordic program here at CSB/SJU. This is not a decision that impacts 20
o Diversity: Cutting the program will decrease
the diversity of intercollegiate sports offered here on campus.
o Academics: Skiers are among the top students in
our schools. Many are Regentsâ€™
Trusteesâ€™ Scholars, maintain a 3.0 or higher throughout their four years of
schooling, and go on to become Doctors, Peace Corps/AmeriCorps volunteers,
Educators, Physical Therapists and Engineers.
o Student Involvement: The
Nordic ski trails are not used only by the athletes. The OLC routinely runs out of rental skis on the weekends-
football players, musicians, faculty, Saint Cloud residents, and monks are
among those who enjoy the Saint Johnâ€™s ski trails. The grooming knowledge and time commitment required to
maintain these trails are far more than the administration anticipates.
o Greater Ski Community: The Minnesota State High School League
Nordic Ski program is the largest high
school ski program in the nation.
It is not unusual for teams to reach over 120 members for a single
season. However, by cutting this
program, they are forcing even more athletes to look out of state if they are
interested in continuing to ski competitively- the collegiate ski programs in
the state of Minnesota would effectively be cut by 25%.
o NCAA Athletics: There are
currently three regions for Nordic Skiing in the nation. The University of Saint Johnâ€™s and the
College of Saint Benedict are part of the Central Collegiate Ski Association
(CCSA). The teams that were part
of the CCSA for the 2010-2011 season include: Michigan Tech University, Saint
Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus, Saint Cloud State University, Northern
Michigan University, Gogebic Community College, College of Saint Scholastica,
Saint Johnâ€™s University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Saint
Benedict, University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Carleton, Macalester, and Saint Maryâ€™s University have all
dropped their ski programs over the course of the past ten years. If this trend continues, the CCSA will
cease to exist and collegiate skiing, from Division I to Division III, will
o Division III Athletics: Unlike Division I and II schools,
Division III athletics allow athletes to be students first. The College of Saint Benedict and Saint
Johnâ€™s University expect their athletes to focus on academics above all else-
many skiers choose to attend a Division III school in lieu of a Division I
school due to this emphasis as well as the rigor and academic challenge
presented. Students are expected
to take a full course load and graduate in four years, while skiing at among
the best skiers in the nation.
Cutting two more Nordic programs from Division III athletics further
limits these opportunities for athletes and athletic programs alike.
o Lifelong Involvement: Nordic skiing is one of the few
lifelong sports offered at CSB/SJU at the Varsity level. Our athletes routinely give back their
love for skiing to younger generations.
Past student athletes who have continued on to coach within the state of
Minnesota: Sean Laidig (â€™03) & Christian Brekke (â€™05): Stillwater Area High
School Ski Coach. Erik Hendrickson
(â€™07): Saint Louis Park High School.
Oumar Cherif (â€™10): Orono High School.
We would like to thank you in advance
for any help, support, or encouragement you may have for our efforts. This is a devastating loss to the
school, especially when you look at how the situation has been/is being
handled. Please, do not hesitate
to contact any member of the ski team with questions, comments, or concerns.
& SJU skiers and alumni
more information, please contact:
Smith (CSB Sophomore)
Trevor Drake (SJU
Cherif (SJU Alum)
Emily Ranta (2011 Assistant Nordic Ski
Administrative Contact Info:
Geller, Vice President for Student Development
(320) 363-5601 firstname.lastname@example.org
Howe-Veenstra, Athletic Director
(320) 363-5201 email@example.com
Doug Mullin, OSB, Vice President for Student Development
(320) 363-2737 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stock, Athletic Director/Athletic Marketing and Fundraising
(320) 363-2629 email@example.com