President Irvin D. Reid today (Feb. 19) named a 20-member panel, which includes such well known business leaders as Peter Karmanos, Denise Ilitch Lites, MelFarr and Floyd Hall to study the feasibility of Division I athletics at Wayne State University.
Bill Brooks, chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber, will chair the Blue Ribbon Panel on Athletics.
The Panel includes:
Current members of the Board of Governors Leon Atchison, Elizabeth Hardy and Edgar Scribner;
Paul Andrews, retired WSU associate vice president for alumni affairs;
Karen DeGrazia, Realtor and member of the Anthony Wayne Society;
Mel Farr, former member of the Detroit Lions and president and chief executive officer, Mel Farr Automotive Group;
Vic Fryling, president and chief operating officer, CMS Energy, WSU alumnus and former student athlete;
Elliott Hall, vice president for civic and external affairs, Ford Motor Co., and WSU alumnus;
Floyd Hall, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Kmart;
Denise Ilitch Lites, president of Olympia Development and vice chairwoman of Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc.;
Peter Karmanos, chairman and chief executive officer of Compuware and owner of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes;
Jenny Logue, WSU student and member of the volleyball team;
Milton L. Mack Jr., chief judge, Wayne County Probate Court, and WSU law alumnus;
John Petersen, dean of the WSU College of Science and faculty athletics representative to the NCAA;
Charlie Primas, retired principal, Detroit Board of Education Youth Home, and former basketball player now in the WSU Hall of Fame;
Bob Rauth, owner and chairman of Lyben Computer Systems and supporter of athletics;
Louis Romano, WSU professor of chemistry;
Cynthia Taueg, director, City of Detroit Health Department and WSU alumna;
and Lauren M. Underwood, president of the WSU Alumni Association.
Wayne State University currently competes in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and participates in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference.
Granted approval to explore Division I by the University's Board of Governors Jan. 22, Dr. Reid said he was acting quickly to name the Panel members to ensure that any recommendations would be announced before the end of the academic semester.
"We are asking the panel to begin meeting the week of Feb. 23, provide a preliminary report by March 30 and a final report by April 15," President Reid said.
"This initiative," Reid said, "represents one of the 10 challenges that the Board of Governors and I have identified for quick action. In many ways, the decision concerning the future of athletics at Wayne State University affects our direction on a number of the other challenges which I have committed to pursue over the next two years."
Reid said he was grateful for the enthusiastic response of the community leaders to his call for volunteer support.
Reid was especially pleased by the willingness of so many busy executives and civic leaders to accept the assignment on short notice.
"This committee will play a central role in helping the University formulate a vision for the future of athletics," he said. "Committee members are responsible for the first step in what I see as a necessary two-step process to fully analyze this issue.
"I am greatly encouraged that we have been able to garner the support of such distinguished Detroit area leaders to help us choose the best course for this University. The Wayne State University family - students, alumni, faculty and staff - will remember their service during an important time in the University's history," President Reid said.
Reid cautioned that people should not jump to conclusions about what recommendations the Blue Ribbon Panel will put forth.
"There has been considerable speculation about our direction, both in conversation and in print," Reid said. "Some have speculated that we will drop football, others suggest we should add new sports. That kind of idle speculation does no good and might impede the work of the commission. Neither I nor the Board of Governors have any preconceived notions, preferences or commitments," Reid said. "I personally will withhold judgment about the future direction of athletics at Wayne State University, and I ask others to join with me and refrain from speculation until the Panel completes its work."