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Facing Criticism, Vanderbilt Promises Money for Athletics

August 20, 2018
 
 

Vanderbilt University issued a statement Friday that emphasized support for athletic programs after the university was accused of blocking athletics from raising money from certain donors while the university courted them for other fund-raisers. In the statement, the university said that athletics would be a "significant part" of future capital campaigns.

"Vanderbilt University is incredibly proud of the on-field and off-field accomplishments of our student athletes, and the coaches and staff who support them. Over the last 10 years, they have won four national championships, 14 conference championships and nine Coach of the Year awards. Our football team has played in five bowl games after a 26-year drought. Last year’s graduating seniors finished their Vanderbilt careers with more than 1,600 total wins, two national championships, eight Conference Championships, 31 postseason appearances, and included 17 All-Americans and 45 all-conference recipients. Academically, our student athletes have earned over a cumulative 3.0 [grade point average] every year for the past 13 years," the statement read. "All of this achievement is supported by a loyal and dedicated fan base that is critical to our overall success. We will continue to invest in our student athletes and as we contemplate a capital campaign for the university, athletics will be a significant part and will include efforts to raise funds for improvements to athletics programs and facilities, including the football stadium."

Boosters say that the university's actions were undermining fund-raising efforts for the renovation of the football stadium, which hasn't been updated since 1981. The issue is indicative of a long-running competition between academics and athletics at Vanderbilt, a university in Nashville, Tenn., that participates in Southeastern Conference football.

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