Letter From Doug Woolard To USF Supporters

This landed in my inbox last night along with everyone else who is a supporter of athletics (I assume this means donors, of which I am one). No extra analysis, just the letter.

Remember, this was sent out yesterday, before the meeting in New York City last night.

Thank you so much for your continued support of the Bulls. I'm writing to you today to address the events taking place in the college athletics landscape. It is a remarkable period of change, and the adjustments are likely far from over.

The leadership of USF has been monitoring the changes and potential changes in conference membership closely over a long period of time; certainly well before the announcement regarding Pittsburgh and Syracuse was made public on Saturday. President Genshaft and I have been engaged in dialogue regarding conference membership over the past 18 months on a local, regional and national level. We will continue those discussions in earnest in the upcoming days and weeks.

As a point of information, and pursuant to the Constitution of the BIG EAST Conference, a member may withdraw from the Conference by providing written notice of withdrawal to each of the other members and the Commissioner at least 27 months in advance of the start of the Conference Year for which the withdrawal shall be effective. For example, a withdrawal notice for the Conference Year commencing July 1, 2014 must be given no later than March 31, 2012. As a result, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are presently contractually bound to membership in the BIG EAST for at least 27 months.

While the landscape may continue to shift for some time, USF is fortunate to bring enormous assets to conference membership. Our student athletes have excelled both in the classroom and on the field of competition. Our APR ranking continues to soar. Our football team has gone to six straight bowl games and is now ranked among the nation's Top 20 teams, as is our men's soccer program. Many other USF programs have earned NCAA tournament bids and have been near the top of the standings in league play.

Over the last 14 months, the University has undergone the single largest athletics construction project on a Division I campus in the last 25 years. The extraordinary development of the Athletics District - including the Frank Morsani Football Complex, the Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center, Corbett Soccer Stadium, new baseball and softball stadiums and a new dining hall now provide USF student-athletes and fans with as fine a group of facilities as there is in America. The $35 million renovation of the Sun Dome, which will re-open next spring, will complete the stunning transformation of the eastern quadrant of USF's beautiful campus. If you have not yet had the opportunity to tour the new facilities; please let a member of my staff know so that we can make it happen!

USF's achievements continue in our classrooms and research laboratories. This year USF was ranked 27th in the nation by the prestigious "Top American Research Universities," following our remarkable growth in research - from 2000-2007 we were fastest in the nation in earning new federal research grants. We are 9th among all universities for earning United States patents, thanks to our faculty inventors, and our commitment to academic excellence led to the strongest class in our history entering this Fall.

In short, the University of South Florida has never been better positioned for a time of significant change.

As the days go on, I will do my best to keep you updated. Thank you again for your wonderful support.

Sincerely,

Doug Woolard
Director of Athletics

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