April 10, 2018
Idaho State Board of Education
Attention: Emma Atchley
P.O. Box 83720
Dear Board Member Atchley,
I am writing to you today to provide my support to you and your fellow board members regarding your upcoming decision related to University of Idaho Athletics. I want to support the proposal that the State Board of Education will grant the University of Idaho a waiver to address financial issues related to athletics.
I write to you today as President of United Soccer Coaches, an association of soccer coaches across all levels of the game with over 30,000 members across the country. I am also the head coach for the University of Washington Women’s Soccer program. I am very familiar with the role soccer plays on the college level, regionally as well as nationally. The University of Idaho has earned United Soccer Coaches’ Team Academic Award six out of the last seven years indicating a team GPA of 3.3 or higher. Additionally, the team has also won two out of the last three Big Sky championships. These student athletes have served their school at the highest level and should not be punished for a situation that they have no control over; for accounting rules that they have had no role in creating. The immediate termination of any current sport at the University of Idaho would unnecessarily harm students. The University of Idaho should be afforded the time to do what is necessary to not only avoid harming current student-athletes but potentially grow opportunities for future student-athletes.
“The Idaho State Board of Education makes policy for K-20 public education in Idaho, to create opportunity for lifelong attainment of high quality education, research, and innovation.” Any action aside from granting a waiver to the University of Idaho, will result in taking away opportunity and does not align with your mission. I urge you and your fellow board members to do everything in your power to ensure that you continue to provide, and grow, access to higher education for student-athletes.