The fencing team hopes to maintain its NCAA status at Brown

In a bid to save their fencing program from extinction, the Brown University fencing team has secured over $750,000 to save its varsity program from elimination and is banking on another $200,000 in promised pledges.

In April, the Brown University Athletics Review Committee recommended that fencing, along with the women’s ski and wrestling teams be cut from the NCAA program and the money saved be put into the other sports that Brown will continue to support.

The article in today’s Brown Daily Herald points out that fencing has already used fundraising to augment it’s budget as the fencing team raised nearly $50,000 of their $100,000 budget last year.

The University isn’t pulling the fencing team off the chopping block yet, however.  Richard Spies, executive vice president for planning and senior adviser to the president, stated that there are a number of other costs to be considered, not just the fencing team budget for travel, equipment, and salaries.  “There are also other costs, including those associated with the teams’ facilities and administrative staff” said Spies.

Supporters of the targeted teams don’t agree with that sentiment.  They feel that if fundraising can make up the budget shortfalls in the athletic department, then there’s no reason to cut the programs.  The Men’s team captain Andrew Pintea is hopeful: “We think we’ve done just about all we can to convince Ruth Simmons and the Corporation that we should be allowed to continue. That said, obviously we’re not happy about the situation.”

The fencing team is not working alone.  They are working with and supporting the ski and wrestling teams as well.  It’s a type of solidarity often found between members of the “non revenue” sports, and hopefully the combined efforts of the teams and their supporters will pay off and keep the opportunities for NCAA athletic participation alive for all of the athletes.