“This isn’t just about whether you have a young gymnast, swimmer or runner in your family. This is about whether you have any athlete in any sport in your family.”

Cutting sports doesn’t have to be the answer. Three-time Olympian, four-time U.S. National All-around champion, and University of Minnesota graduate John Roethlisberger recently presented his case for men’s gymnastics and roadmap to success on InsideGym.com and across several outlets.

To further address and add to the ongoing conversation about the current state of men’s NCAA gymnastics and all Olympic sports, we are reposting John’s letter from the newly created Save Olympic Sports Facebook page here. #SaveOlympicSports

We need your help. There is a crisis within non-revenue and Olympic sports at the collegiate level. This is more than just about my sport, men’s gymnastics, and also more than about just athletic opportunities for men. It’s about opportunities for both men and women. Although one could say the current pandemic has certainly pushed this issue to a tipping point, it alone is not to blame for the current situation. There will continue to be many more of these opportunities lost at the collegiate level this year and years to come, unless there is a creative, collective effort to change the way college athletics operates. Our goal is to prevent universities from cutting sports so that the opportunities for young people continue to exist. Ask them to find or create an alternate solution to their financial issues.
 
Until now, there has not been a collective problem-solving approach to find a better answer than cutting sports. Most of these decisions have happened in a vacuum, void of the input from those closest to the sports and those with potentially the most creative answers. Ask these universities for that opportunity! This isn’t just about whether you have a young gymnast, swimmer or runner in your family. This is about whether you have any athlete in any sport in your family. No one is immune to this current approach to balancing budgets at the university level. Even if you don’t know someone with hopes of being a collegiate athlete someday, you should care about this issue. This is one important avenue in the development of our youth in America; it’s impactful, and we are losing it.
 
We are asking you to reach out to these universities to ask them to find another way, and let the communities that care be a part of the process. It may take just one university to stand up and say enough is enough and be the leader on this, and others will follow. Right now, one university cutting opportunities gives the others a precedent to do the same.
 
Below is a sample email you can use if you feel comfortable. You can cut and paste portions of it and make it your own however you feel fit. The important part is to flood them with emails, calls and letters as well as social media from people that care, and show them that their communities do care, to the point they are compelled to at least, pause, listen and give another option a chance. That’s all we are asking.
 
I encourage you to use the following in the subject line in emails and hashtag on social media: Save Olympic Sports #SaveOlympicSports
 
I have also included the contact information to the Regents, Board of Trustees, Athletic Directors and University Presidents at Iowa, Minnesota, Stanford and William and Mary. There are more and will be more, and this can certainly be sent to any other universities whether they have cut sports yet or not. Please take five minutes and send an email, make a call or even write a letter. Do it every day for a month if you have the resolve. I think this is important. As I look at my three young children, I dream of them having an opportunity in any sport similar to what I did in gymnastics. It’s truly life changing.
 
Thank You!
 
John Roethlisberger
Golden Gopher Gymnast
Three-time Olympian
 
-SAMPLE EMAIL-
 
Dear Regents, Athletics Directors & Presidents,
 
I am writing to you to express my concern regarding your recent decision to drop sports from the athletic curriculum. I fully understand that this is a very unique and difficult year not just for athletics, but for individuals and businesses across the country. Everyone has had to make hard decisions, whether it’s been at their workplaces or in their homes. In sending this email I am not ignoring that fact. However, once these opportunities are lost, they don’t come back. All we are asking is for you to pause, and let leaders from the broader community, those that care deeply about these athletic opportunities, be part of a solution. This includes parents, alumni, coaches both within universities and in youth sports, the leaders of the NGB’s, and the USOPC. I ask you, have you involved these groups up to this point? If not, why not? What is the risk in doing so? The only thing that could change from where you are now is that you save the opportunities for future student-athletes.
 
This is not a case of us against you. We are, and should be, on the same team with the same goal. What is the goal of a university and an athletic department? To offer as broad a range of sports, arts, and academics to the broadest possible demographic of young people? We all want the same thing. Wait on cutting and let us help. One university cutting opportunities has a cascading effect of justifying the next university to start cutting. What would happen if one university stood up and said there is a better way, and became the leader in this movement? What if they found a new path, one that couldn’t be ignored? If you are privy to the functioning of college athletics, you know it is broken. Let’s collectively fix it, before it ceases to exist as we know it.
 
Contact Info:
Below is the contact info for 4 of the universities. I have included their names next to their contact info, but also have put all their email addresses together in one line, so you can simply cut and paste them into an email. Thank you!
 
William & Mary – Cut Men’s and Women’s Swimming, Men’s Track and Field, Volleyball, and Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics
The University of Minnesota – Cut Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Men’s Gymnastics and Men’s Tennis
The University of Iowa – Cut Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving, Men’s Tennis and Men’s Gymnastics
Stanford University – Cut Men’s and Women’s Fencing, Field Hockey, Lightweight Rowing, Men’s Rowing, Co-ed and Women’s Sailing, Squash, Synchronized Swimming, Men’s Volleyball and Wrestling
 
president@wm.edu, athleticdir@wm.edu, provost@wm.edu, BOV@wm.edu, mjfox1@wm.edu, jlittel@wm.edu, mcoyle@umn.edu, kpowell@umn.edu, sviggum@umn.edu, tja@umn.edu, mdavenpo@umn.edu, rbeeson@umn.edu, kliher@umn.edu, hsu@umn.edu, hsu@umn.edu, kenyanya@umn.edu, mayeron@umn.edu, dmcmillan@umn.edu, drosha@umn.edu, rrs@umn.edu, president@uiowa.edu, gary-barta@uiowa.edu, mark.braun@iowaregents.edu, regent.barker@iowaregents.edu, regentsb@iastate.edu, regent.boettger@iowaregents.edu, regentmd@iastate.edu, regent.dunkel@iowaregents.edu, regent.leist@iowaregents.edu, regent.lindenmayer@iowaregents.edu, boardoffice@stanford.edu, athleticdirector@stanford.edu, bmmuir@stanford.edu, pdunkley@stanford.edu, ray.purpur@stanford.edu, bgoode@stanford.edu, tcgray@stanford.edu, h.owen@stanford.edu, btalbott@stanford.edu, president@stanford.edu

 

Speak Out – Make Your Voice Heard Through These Links and Share With Friends

William & Mary: https://linktr.ee/savewmgym

Minnesota Board of Regents: https://regents.umn.edu/regents (click on each for contact info)

Iowa Board of Regents: https://www.iowaregents.edu/contact-us

College Gymnastics Association: https://collegegym.org/news/strongertogether

University of Oklahoma Booster Club: https://bit.ly/2ZKtiIB

University of Oklahoma’s Social Media:

Twitter, https://twitter.com/OU_MGymnastics

Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/ou_mgymnastics/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SoonerGymnasts

Photos provided by the University of Oklahoma and Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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