In a letter to the Johns Hopkins community on Friday, May 17, President Ronald J. Daniels announced that he has accepted the recommendation of a special committee that the Blue Jay men’s lacrosse program seek conference affiliation. The text of President Daniels’ message and the committee report follow.
Dear Member of the Johns Hopkins Community:
In some circles, Johns Hopkins is known best for healing. In others, we are recognized for discovery or for the amazing achievements of our students.
In still others, the name “Johns Hopkins” means lacrosse, Homewood Field and 44 men’s national championships. As with healing, discovery and achievement, that is a very special association and one that we are determined to preserve.
I wrote to you in early March to say that the changing face of intercollegiate athletics and the immense growth in the sport of lacrosse had made it necessary for Johns Hopkins to consider a step it had never taken in 130 years of competition: foregoing our independent status and affiliating with a conference for men’s lacrosse.
It would be a big step, a departure from history and Blue Jay tradition. We would never take such a step lightly. I announced the formation, therefore, of a special committee to examine all aspects of the issue and to provide me with an informed recommendation.
I also invited you to participate in the process by sharing your views with the committee. I am pleased to say that more than 300 of our students, alumni, faculty and staff did so.
In the two months since it was formed, the committee has worked diligently to understand the landscape and to consider whether we should make a change. Its members and staff, in addition to considering your feedback, have consulted with faculty athletics representatives at other universities, with officials of a number of conferences, and with traditional Johns Hopkins rivals. They have compiled and analyzed relevant statistical information; they have engaged in detailed discussions with Athletics Director Tom Calder and Coach Dave Pietramala, A&S ’90.
The committee’s unanimous conclusion, transmitted to me last week, is that Johns Hopkins and its men’s lacrosse student-athletes would best be served by our seeking affiliation for men’s lacrosse only with an NCAA Division I conference. That conclusion was based on committee members’ conviction that such a move will provide our university and history’s most-successful lacrosse program the best opportunity for continued leadership at the highest level of intercollegiate competition. It was based on their conviction that joining a Division I conference for men’s lacrosse is the best course for our athletes, our program and our university, and that it can be done without compromise to our academic integrity or athletic traditions.
I agree with the committee’s analysis and have accepted its recommendations. Tom Calder and Dave Pietramala are also in agreement. Together, we intend to pursue an affiliation. As I mentioned in my March message, there already have been expressions of interest. I will report to you when there is a conclusion to these discussions.
The special committee’s report is available online here. To be clear, we intend, as previously announced, to compete as a Division I independent in women’s lacrosse. We remain deeply and philosophically committed to continued participation in NCAA Division III competition in all other sports.
The members of the special committee have invested a great deal of time and energy and done a wonderful job. On behalf of the entire university community, I want to express my most sincere appreciation to all the members, and especially to co-chairs Jerry Schnydman, A&S ’67, and Chris Watson, A&S ’05.
Ronald J. Daniels