On behalf of the 450+ student-athletes of Boston University, who take pride in
our sportsmanship and scholarship, and look for the same commitment from institutions
of higher education, we respectfully submit for your consideration the following petition:
On June 28, 2012, immediately after Boston University announced its intention to leave the America East Conference to accept an invitation to join the Patriot League beginning in the Fall of 2013, you, the Presidents of the other member universities of the America East Conference, banned Boston University's student-athletes, effective immediately, from any America East championship play, thereby also foreclosing one of their opportunities to progress to NCAA championship competition.
That decision was a startling and spiteful reaction to Boston University's intention, after next season, to withdraw from America East. We will not address your authority to make such a decision, but will assume you had the discretion to do so. We respectfully submit, however, that you have disrespected that discretion, abandoned the America East's stated principles and goals, and set a very poor example for the students entrusted to your care. We request that you reconsider your unfortunate action.
Boston University was a founding member of the America East Conference, and its student-athletes have participated in Conference events for over thirty years. Your decision not only affects the student-athletes at Boston University, but all of the student- athletes in the America East Conference, as the forced absence of Boston University's athletes from league championships will lower the competitive caliber of the conference this coming year. Needless to say, the decision by Boston University to accept an invitation to join the Patriot League was not in any manner within the control of its student-athletes. Those student-athletes, however, are the persons, and the only persons, harmed by your decision.
The preamble of the America East Constitution acknowledges that "organized intercollegiate athletics competition constitutes an important activity in undergraduate life and experience."
The Conference's Mission Statement promises that "the Conference is committed to developing and strengthening a broad-based program of championships, participation in which shall be a rewarding experience for student-athletes."
Article 1(2) of the Constitution provides that the "purpose" of America East is "to provide an avenue through which students can strive to achieve high levels of academic success while competing in championship athletics programs that are competitive, equitable, and highly visible." According to Article 3(1) of the Constitution, it is the Conference's member universities' responsibility" to "maintain intercollegiate athletics programs as a vital component of the educational program", to maintain broad-based, equitable athletics programs", and "to endorse all efforts to ensure that intercollegiate athletics are an integral part of campus life, and that they make a positive contribution to the educational experience of the university community."
Article 3(1)(d) of the America East Constitution expressly states that among member institutions' responsibilities are for "administrators to behave as role models for students and for the community at large."
If these supposed underlying truths and goals can all be disregarded, indeed trumped, by the member institutions' Presidents reaction to a situation that affects the Conference only financially, then your member student-athletes can only assume that they mean nothing.
What is more, America East Conference's By-Law 7(d) provides that the Conference Student Athlete Advisory Committee ("SAAC") is to be able to "make recommendations regarding issues related to the student-athlete equity and welfare in the America East Conference and in the NCAA." To the best of our knowledge, the SAAC was not consulted by you prior to your making this decision that undoubtedly involves considerations of equity and (adversely) affects student-athlete welfare, but was instead blind-sided by your action, as was everyone else.
We ask that you imagine your student-athletes working tirelessly year-round toward the ultimate goal of winning an America East championship, and the resulting opportunity to advance to NCAA championship competition, only to have that dream stripped away from them by fiat. Once the initial shock passes and the reality of our lost opportunity sets in, we are left with hurt, frustration, and, saddest of all, the loss of belief that the American higher education system is committed to fairness and devotion to its students' development and goals.
With the above in mind, we ask you to reconsider your ban on Boston University student-athletes' championship competition. Particularly for the seniors among us, who have devoted three years of sportsmanship to America East, there will never be another championship opportunity. Let our hard work and dedication to our school and our conference show itself in the 2013 America East championship tournaments.
SIGN THIS PETITION!
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