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A case study about the cancellation of Hoftra's University football program.

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  1. 1. A Decision that Altered Lives The Termination of Hofstra University’s Football Program By Danielle Lewis and Katherine Rodriguez
  2. 2. <ul><li>On December 3, 2009, the football program at Hofstra University was cancelled </li></ul><ul><li>The decision was made by the Board of Trustees and University President Stuart Rabinowitz </li></ul><ul><li>The decision was made after a two-year study into the program </li></ul><ul><li>The coaches and athletes were notified of the decision without any warning, and two weeks before final examinations. </li></ul><ul><li>$ 4.5 million from the program would be reallocated for academic purposes </li></ul>
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  5. 5. An Open Letter to the Hofstra Community: After a comprehensive review, the Board of Trustees has, at my recommendation, voted unanimously to eliminate our intercollegiate football program IN ORDER TO REDIRECT THOSE RESOURCES TO ACADEMIC INIATIVES and need-based scholarships. This decision is not a budget reduction, but rather a strategically driven REALLOCATION OF RESOURCES… In the end, we could not continue to justify the expense of football compared to the benefits it brought to the University… Simply stated, ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE has been and will continue to be OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY … OUR FIRST PRIORITY , at this time, is to work with the 84 football student-athletes to ensure that they manage this transition in whatever manner is most comfortable for them… - Stuart Rabinowitz, President, Hofstra University
  6. 6. <ul><li>Former Hofstra players reflected on the </li></ul><ul><li>situation saying: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I did my best to stay strong and support my teammates. The school search was stressful because it was right before finals. It was definitely a lot of pressure trying to make a life changing decision in a matter of a couple weeks.” – Ronnie Cameron </li></ul><ul><li>“ People did not care about football there, Hofstra football was not important to them, there was no love and there was no support.” – Jose Cruz </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Coaches </li></ul><ul><li>Head Coach Dave Cohen became a defensive coordinator at Western Michigan University </li></ul><ul><li>Other coaches found positions at universities including: Bowling Green University, University of Delaware and Georgetown University </li></ul><ul><li>Players </li></ul><ul><li>Most players found positions on new teams while some did stay at Hofstra </li></ul><ul><li>Players found positions at institutions that include: Old Dominion University, Syracuse University, Stony Brook University, Villanova University and Rutgers University </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The initial press conference held by Hofstra was attended by numerous media outlets </li></ul><ul><li>Media outlets that covered the story include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ESPN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WABC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WCBS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NBC New York </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The New York Times </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Boston Globe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newsday </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Hofstra has been criticized by several stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>about the way they communicated with the </li></ul><ul><li>football players. Its publics were skeptical about </li></ul><ul><li>the management style of President Stuart </li></ul><ul><li>Rabinowitz and the way he and the Board of </li></ul><ul><li>Trustees formulated their decisions. The </li></ul><ul><li>University’s biggest challenge is to rebuild trust </li></ul><ul><li>with its stakeholders. </li></ul>
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  11. 11. <ul><li>Vertical decentralization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal decision-making power downward through the chain of command </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Downward communication & Upward communication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Horizontal decentralization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision-making power flows informally to people in operating core </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Horizontal communication </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>A crisis develops when one or more stakeholder groups perceive an issue as a crisis </li></ul><ul><li>A 2006 study cited mismanagement of issues account for 14 percent of major crises </li></ul><ul><li>An organization’s reputation depends on its strategic crisis plans </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>The way we ought to decide, manage, and communicate </li></ul><ul><li>Primary goal of public relations is to build relationships through the use of ethical communication </li></ul><ul><li>To be transparent at all times </li></ul>
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  15. 15. <ul><li>Do’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Published materials on school website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Held press conference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notified coaching staff and players </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’ts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two-year study never became accessible </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Hofstra University’s communication methods: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vertical communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory-x </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two-way asymmetrical and public information model </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coaches and student-athletes were notified AFTER the decision was made </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Before the decision: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hofstra had a positive reputation of integrity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Known for both its academics and athletic programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After the decision: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust was lost by some key publics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other programs feared their longevity at Hofstra </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The president was described as unsupportive of athletics at Hofstra </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><ul><ul><li>What is the business problem facing Hofstra University? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How can the University reestablish trust between the university and its alumni? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What would you have done differently in terms of ensuring the transition of the football players to new schools? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What would have been the best communications method for the University? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How did this decision affect the reputation of Hofstra University? </li></ul></ul></ul>