The sports controversy is far from over.
Less than a month after William & Mary announced the remaining varsity sports teams would be reinstated tentatively for one year, the university’s Board of Visitors gave W&M President Katherine Rowe a bonus for how she handled the situation and the coronavirus pandemic.
At the Nov. 20 BOV meeting, both Rowe and Richard Bland College President Debbie Sydow received “performance bonuses” for the 2019-2020 year, BOV Rector John Littel wrote in an email Wednesday.
The approval for the bonuses was unanimous.
“Their performance evaluations were conducted by the Board in August,” he noted, adding the fiscal year ended in June. “However, given the uncertain nature of the pandemic, the awards were delayed until we had a better sense of our financial position.”
“I should also note that President Rowe voluntarily took a 15% salary reduction for the fall semester,” Littel added.
Suzanne Clavet, spokeswoman for the university, on Thursday wrote in an email Rowe received $75,000 and Sydow received $50,000 “in accordance with their contracts.”
“As I’ve stated previously, the Board remains extremely pleased with President Rowe’s performance, particularly how well she has led the university safely through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Littel said. “There’s no standard playbook to managing this kind of crisis — she led the university in establishing clear goals at the outset and brought this community together to meet those goals.”
Littel said Rowe and the BOV were “committed to job security” for the faculty and staff and the university has been a “leader” in how to successfully respond” to the pandemic.
“President Rowe was also evaluated for her work beyond the pandemic and exceeded her established goals for the year,” Littel noted. “W&M has made great strides under President Rowe’s leadership in just 2 short years.”
While Littel did not elaborate on what specific goals Rowe had achieved or exceeded for the year, he did say the BOV appreciates Rowe’s “responsive and deliberate decisions” regarding the future path of the athletics department.
“We are confident that the work that the President and Interim Athletic Director Dr. Jeremy Martin are leading, in conjunction with our 23 teams and their supporters, will create a framework for a Path Forward in Athletics,” he wrote.
The next performance evaluation of both Rowe and Sydow is late summer 2021.
Here is a timeline leading up to the reinstatement of the teams:
- Sept. 3- Rowe, Provost Peggy Agouris and former Athletics Director Samantha Huge announced in an open letter the men’s and women’s gymnastics; men’s and women’s swimming; men’s indoor and outdoor track & field, and women’s volleyball teams would be cut effective in the 2021-2022 school year because of financial concerns, the coronavirus pandemic and to comply with Title IX.
- Student-athletes, parents and alumni created petitions to reinstate the programs with Save Tribe Swimming getting more than $1 million pledges in a few weeks.
- College community found parts of the open letter was plagiarized from Stanford University’s open letter and questions the university’s Honor Code.
- Sept. 18- Huge released a statement about the joint open letter from W&M stating the goal was to “emulate best practices not imitate.”
- Sept. 23, – Rowe released a statement about the open letter, referring to Huge’s statement and called the open letter a “mistake.”
- Sept. 23 -The Board of Visitors hosted a “listening session” meeting with the student athletes, faculty and staff. The university’s student assembly presented a resolution demanding more transparency about the decision. Rowe announced her assistant, Jim Golden, would work with Huge to “help guide strategic communications in Athletics.”
- Sept. 23- Arthur H. Bryant demanded his clients––the women’s teams––be reinstated and threatened a Title IX lawsuit.
- Sept. 25- At the BOV meeting, Rowe promised an “open dialogue” about the future plans of the athletics department.
- Sept. 30- Carrie Nee, attorney for the college, told Bryant W&M could comply with Title IX without reinstating the teams.
- Oct. 5- One faculty member planned for a vote of no confidence in Huge’s leadership at the next faculty meeting on Oct. 6.
- Oct. 6- Just an hour before the faculty’s meeting, Rowe and the Board of Visitors announced Huge had resigned and named Jeremy Martin, Rowe’s chief of staff, as interim athletics director.
- Oct. 7- Parents and Tribe alumni pledged not to donate money to the university until the sports were reinstated.
- Oct. 9- Martin hosted a Zoom meeting introducing himself to the community and details the athletics department’s financial situation.
- Oct. 19- W&M reinstated the women’s teams to comply with Title IX and agreed to review Title IX compliance and pay $124,866.90 in clients’ costs and attorney fess by Nov. 19.
- Oct. 20- The faculty assembly voted to create an athletics task force to make a new strategic plan for the athletics department.
- Oct. 23- Track supporters demanded external audit of the athletics department.
- Oct. 26- Women’s track teams refused to compete and demanded all sports be reinstated.
- Oct. 27- Littel noted he is confident in Rowe’s leadership.
- Nov. 5- W&M reinstated the men’s teams through 2021-2022 pending the Title IX review and athletics department’s strategic plan
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