Obviously this is a move predicated on Gross' dismissal of the SU swimming and diving programs but it basically turns into a catch-all press release meant to embarrass Gross into...well, I don't know...winning more? It's chock full of fantastically-overwrought statements and diatribes, such as:
- "Gross had evinced a total lack of respect for the wishes of the student body. The arrogance of this man knows no bounds."
- Whitten charged, Gross, "also failed, over a period of months", to answer the phone calls or letters of Syracuse alums who are internationally prominent in swimming circles and athletics in general.
Gross stated a thorough study had been conducted on what it would take to achieve national success in swimming and diving at SU. Stating that you can't win championships training in SU's 25-yard pool built in 1949, he concluded the price would be prohibitive, citing a cost of "$35 to $40 million" just to build a modern facility. "Wrong on every count," Whitten countered.
- "If Dr. Gross is, as he says repeatedly, 'all about winning,' Whitten noted, "he has a funny way of showing it." Outstanding coaches have been fired or forced to resign, remaining coaches reportedly are tense, wondering where the axe will fall next, the department is in total disarray, and Syracuse athletics is at one of its lowest points in history.
- The first thing Gross did," said Whitten, "was fire the head football coach, Paul Pasqualoni, a highly respected coach-educator, who had won over 64 percent of his games during his 14 years at Syracuse.
All in all its a fantastic "I'm a poopyhead? No YOU'RE a Poopyhead" kiss-off. You know Gross won't respond but one gets the feeling that if asked, Gross would say he won't defend himself from the allegations of a "smelly jerk."
Can't say most of the things Whitten charges aren't true. The major programs have indeed suffered in the wins and losses columns since Gross arrived. And as for the swimming and diving programs, my gut tells me that Gross and SU probably could have made it work but chose to go with the higher profile sport more in-line with local interests (hockey). It does suck for the program, the same way it sucked for wrestling a few years back, but unfortunately it just doesn't have the broad appeal of some of the other programs that more people would get behind. The last paragraph of the release struck me though, either because its ridiculously wrong or extremely ironic.
The department targeted four sports as losing the most money in the department and the ones to be considered for cutting first should that ever be necessary: (1) lacrosse, (2) women's basketball, (3) men's track, and (4) women?s rowing. Ironically swimming and diving don't even make this list.
Considering SU lacrosse is an institution, I highly doubt the thought of eliminating it would ever cross anyone's mind, no matter how much money it may or may not lose.