UC Merced Launches Athletics Initiative

MERCED - The University of California, Merced, is taking the first steps toward creating a formal intercollegiate athletics program and expects to have a plan of action in place next year.

The Chancellor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics will convene on campus Wednesday, July 30, to meet the consultants hired by the university to create a strategic athletics plan. They expect the plan to be complete in January 2009.

The commission, which includes Los Angeles Galaxy coach and former soccer player Cobi Jones, athletic administrators, former student athletes, other UC Merced representatives and community supporters, is charged with offering guidance to the consulting team as it drafts its proposal for UC Merced's future athletics program.

The consultants, Cedric Dempsey and Ted Leland, both have a long history in collegiate athletics. Dempsey served as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from 1994 to 2003, and Leland was athletic director at Stanford University from 1991 to 2005.

"We are very fortunate to have such experienced consultants on board," said Jane Lawrence, vice chancellor for student affairs and a commission member. "I am confident Drs. Dempsey and Leland, who are both recognized nationally for the breadth of their knowledge in athletics, will help UC Merced develop the best athletics program possible."

At the commission's meeting on Wednesday, members will be introduced to one another and to the consultants. Attendees will hear a brief presentation on the campus and its current intramural and club athletics programs. The scope of work for the consultants will be presented, and then Dempsey and Leland will discuss their plan for working with the commission.

For more information about UC Merced Recreation & Athletics, visit http://recreation.ucmerced.edu/default.asp.


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