Letter from DSU president regarding Wesley College acquisition

Division III athletic program will not continue
February 20, 2021

Delaware State University’s planned acquisition of Wesley College continues toward finalization in July.

This is a long, complex process, but a large group of leaders from both institutions has been collaborating to meet each successive challenge.

One of the larger issues has always been the status of Wesley College’s nationally prominent Division III athletics programs. Because this became an issue in the media Feb. 15, and was the subject of some reporting that was less than accurate, DSU President Dr. Tony Allen released the following statement to share with the entire community:

“Yesterday, Wesley College President Bob Clark sent out a note to his campus community that Delaware State University has decided not to continue with a DIII Athletic program following the acquisition. We recognize the deep disappointment that the Wesley College community is feeling after that announcement. 

It was not an easy decision. Wesley College athletes and coaches across the board have carved out a proud tradition in DIII sports, and we made every effort to consider its long-term sustainability. To that end, the university privately fundraised to engage two independent management consulting firms to analyze the viability of simultaneously operating a DI and a DIII Athletic program. 

Those analyses were summed up in months of review, engagement with diverse subject matter experts, including officials from the NCAA, and a financial exploration of the university's capacity to support two comprehensive programs.  Among the options considered was a scenario that delayed discontinuing D-III athletics by at least one additional academic year.

After hearing the consultants' reports and sharing those findings with Wesley's leadership, our decision was clear. The programmatic, regulatory, and financial hurdles to operating two athletic programs were either too high and/or uncertain, and would have steered us away from the original intent of the acquisition – more low-cost, high-quality educational opportunities each year for a larger number of deserving young Delawareans and a broader impact on Dover, Kent County and the state.

What we expect to be the university's new Wesley College of Health and Behavioral Sciences in downtown Dover will be an exceptional addition to our academic and research portfolio. The new college will significantly enhance the number of aspiring health sciences professionals among our students, in addition to the many Wesley academic programs that will continue under the Delaware State banner.

This fall we expect to welcome hundreds of Wolverines as new Hornets. This will be a challenge prospect for many of them, but I know that our community will welcome them with open arms and hearts. That’s what we do here.

It all matters.

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