I do not think that the end of football at Williams would meaningfully impact alumni donations. As evidence, I cite the fact that Swarthmore eliminated football a decade ago and has continued to raise plenty of money. But reader Keilexandra points to two discussions (here and here) at the Swarthmore Strategic Planning page for evidence to the contrary.
I would like to ask that the “Plan for the Future of Swarthmore” include the reinstatement of a varsity football program. My career and Swarthmore experience were truly enriched by my participation in Garnet football from 1982 to 1985. I have been truly disappointed in the College since the team’s discontinuation in 2000. This alumnus is disenfranchised and disengaged. Football works for Stanford. It works for Northwestern. It works for Rice and Tufts, both Swarthmore exchange schools. Why can’t we make it work for Swarthmore?
This is a very easy question. The College needs to reinstate football! Nothing garners alumni attention better than a football program. Just go to a William and Mary or Penn game, and all you see are eager alums cheering on the college.
In addition, all the sports programs are of interest to alumni. We’re not going to follow the ups and downs of the Sociology Department. But we’re going to read about and support the sports teams.
As Haverford’s President stated,” If the orchestra gives a concert and messes up the finale, no one will know. If the lacrosse team loses, everyone in Philadelphia knows!”
I am completely unconvinced. Two random comments count as evidence? No. Hundreds of alums that will be upset about any major change at a college like Swarthmore or Williams. But will they meaningfully change their giving behavior as a result? No. That has not happened at Swarthmore and there is no evidence that it would happen at Williams.