Monday, December 7, 2009

Reaction to HU dropping football: Ex-player Rob Levites

(All members of the Hofstra community are invited to share their thoughts about the dropping of the football program by emailing Defiantly Dutch at

What a joke. As a former player and native Long Islander, I am deeply disappointed in the Hofstra leadership. I graduated in 1999 and was part of some amazing football teams (95-99). I played with very talented players (Gio Carmazzi, Lance Schulters, Dave Fiore, DeMingo Graham, Charles Adams, Joe Todd, Vaughn Sanders, Kahmal Roy, Doug Shanahan, Bryan Kish, etc). I was taught the game by some of the best coaches in the game (Joe Gardi, Greg Gigantino, Rob Spence, Raheem Morris, Dan Quinn, Bob McIntyre, Kyle Flood, Chip Garber, Dave Brock, Sal Alosi, Joe Woods), all of whom are either in the NFL or high-level I-A programs.

In my years at university, I identified myself as a student-athlete. I represented the university with pride and joy. I left a lot of blood, seat, tears and time (that’s right, time) on the field and in the classroom. As a student-athlete, we spent most of our free time playing or preparing our bodies and minds for our sport. While most other college students are interning and attempting to figure out what direction to take their careers and lives, we student-athletes are representing the university and building/exposing the brand (Hofstra) everywhere we played. President Shuart understood that intercollegiate sports was an economically beneficial way to build the university. Before some of the new academic buildings were constructed in the mid-to-late ‘90s, money was spent on football/lacrosse, basketball and wrestling facilities and scholarships.

This led to, without question, the best years in Hofstra sports history. These teams rewarded the school with wins and exposure. The national attention was brought to the school by athletes like Wayne Chrebet, Carmazzi, Schulters, Adams and Marques Colston in football, Speedy Claxton and Norman Richardson in basketball and Doug Shanahan in lacrosse.

I could argue and attempt to quantify how much Wayne Chrebet, Schulters, Marques Colston, Carmazzi, Dave Fiore, Graham, Adams, Todd, Sanders, Roy, Shanahan, Kish and, most importantly, Morris lead to $10,000,000 to $30,000,000 of free marketing for Hofstra.  The names of these former football players have been mentioned on TV and in print hundreds and thousands of times. When these men get interviewed, they often mention Hofstra as part of their journey and reason for their success. The success of these men and these teams helped give Hofstra the momentum and notoriety to build for the future. I wonder if the two-year cost analysis study that the university conducted took that into account?

I have to admit over the past 10 years I have not been a very active alum. Only recently have I been involved. I’ve been talking with Coach Cohen and some of the ad staff about attempting to bridge the gap between the Gardi Era and the new regime. Some very positive ideas came out of these meetings, none of which are ever going to be implemented now.

I have many questions about the agenda of the current leadership at the university. Does President Rabinowitz really think Hofstra is an Ivy League-type of institution? Does he believe that Boston University has become a better academic institution since it dropped football in 1997? Why didn’t they reach out to football alums for financial support? Why didn’t they reach out to the football alums to discuss the potential fiscal issues or allocations? Do Duke, Cornell, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Columbia, Fordham, etc, make money from football operations? How does the leadership define pride?

The truth is, the current leadership never wanted a football program. The hard work and success of former Hofstra football players was totally ignored and thrown out. We, the ex-football players, were part of the reason why the university has developed and is expanding. We, the ex-football players, were vital to the development of the university over the past 15 years. The Board and President Rabinowitz should be ashamed.

Rob Levites

Class of 1999

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