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September 12, 2009 - Regents study intercollegiate athletics

Ernest Calderón, president of the Arizona Board of Regents, recently published a column in the Arizona Daily Star in which he stated that the board will begin an investigation of the role of intercollegiate athletics at its universities. In the column, Calderon states:

"...I asked regent and former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini to chair an ad hoc committee on intercollegiate athletics at our universities. The committee will take a fresh look at athletic operations in relation to the overall interests of Arizona. The regents intend to examine college sports enterprises in the context of the value our public investment in athletics returns to our schools, their students and Arizona in general.

The regents will ask the questions:  What need does intercollegiate athletics serve and to what level is this service being executed?

Our assessment will not be conducted as an inquisition nor will it produce a Pollyanna's view of big-time college athletic programs. It will simply serve to guide our universities toward activities that ultimately benefit our students and either satisfy or set benchmarks for measurable accountability.

The time is ripe for such a review, and it should assist our university presidents in dealing with the issues of the day. UA President Robert Shelton deserves the Board of Regents' critical analysis and direction as he grapples with the changing dynamics of intercollegiate athletics and the hard decisions that he faces in elevating the UA sports program.

Intercollegiate athletics can inspire us and educate our students in life's lessons, but it must remain faithful to the educational missions of our universities, today and henceforth. Intercollegiate athletics must be accountable to Arizona, or the Board of Regents will reform its practices"