Wofford Converse merger?

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Wofford Converse merger?

Postby Art Vandalay on Sat May 11, 2013 11:37 am

I've recently learned of a potential Wofford, Converse merger being proposed in a joint study group sponsored by Wofford and Converse. I just can't see any benefit for Wofford to such a merger academically, and particularly on the athletic side. If such a merger took place, the new Wofford would have 1/3 male and 2/3 female population (at least for the short term). How, with title 9, would we be able to give 63 football scholarships, 13 basketball, some baseball (much less improve the number), and soccer schollies? As I understand title 9, athletic scholarships must be proportional to the student body meaning that the men would get 1/3 of the scholarships, and the women 2/3. I'm thinking it would be impossible to field a scholarship football team if such a merger took place (without some sort of wavier). What have you heard? Am I wrong on my assumptions?


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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby walliver on Sat May 11, 2013 12:42 pm

There is no way a real merger would work.
There is no purpose to a coed Converse.
There may be economies of scale that could help both schools reduce expenses, such as sharing faculty, support staff, etc.
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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby youngterrier on Sat May 11, 2013 2:18 pm

It won't happen. Students have been given a survey, and I can tell you it will be overwhelmingly anti-Converse.

With that said, the one thing Wofford can benefit from Converse is the Arts program. Converse's Arts program is lightyears better than ours. Musically, in Theater, etc.

That is what we could benefit from them, but that's about it.
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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby Art Vandalay on Sat May 11, 2013 4:10 pm

I have no problem with a share agreement of some sort, and I understand that's how the discussions started out. But the discussions took a turn to a full merger as I understand it.
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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby Ruckus on Tue May 14, 2013 7:18 pm

I too have heard rumors of a merger. Supposedly Wofford gets the arts, education, and graduate programs it needs and would become a "university". Converse gets much needed financial security. I have even heard property between the schools is being purchased to close the physical gap.
Pretty hush hush stuff though.
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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby Eyes of Old Main on Tue May 14, 2013 10:01 pm

Cloak and dagger stuff. I see the attractions; new programs for Wofford, financial stability for Converse, increased opportunties for both. Truly stitching the two together would take years and I doubt could ever be fully done unless one abandoned it's campus. This would be a bold, visionary move but not one I'm keen on seeing Wofford make. If we want to add those programs, why not buy them from Converse the way Samford bought their law school? To me, merging and growing the two together has the chance at great gains, but sacrifices way too much of what Wofford is. I don't have a vote, but count my opinion as a "no". Not that I am anti-Converse by any stretch (my wife is an alum), but while I see value in the programs, faculty and mission of Converse, that school is run by a bunch of old ladies that run it as their own fiefdom without regard to proper management. I would hate to see everything that Wofford has struggled to build put even partially in the hands of that group.
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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby Terrier13 on Wed May 15, 2013 12:17 am

As a fellow student, I can attest that the student and faculty sentiment on campus is decidedly negative. The supposed reasoning for these discussions in the first place is one (or several) Spartanburg philanthropists that give significantly to both schools have encouraged greater collaboration between the two schools. The use of the word "merger" seems a bit advanced from what has been discussed so far but you never know what the final product would be. Anyway, the only reason this would be given any serious consideration whatsoever is the proposed bequest would be something to the effect of $100 million dollars (Wofford's current endowment is approximately $160 million if I'm not gravely mistaken). Obviously that number got some people thinking... As a current student, I don't see the benefit to Wofford. The addition of VCOM students to our campus has been universally panned by both faculty, staff, and students. To be frank, Converse is essentially dead weight at this point and given their niche market (i.e. not many girls nowadays want to go to an all girls school, save those looking for the Arts or Education, which Converse does very well), their financial troubles are only likely to grow worse. I don't see how Wofford would be able to maintain that many new facilities. Maintenance already struggles to keep it together here as is (a recent article in the student paper exposing lack of maintenance requests being fulfilled has, somewhat surprisingly, drawn some attention from the administration) so a bulk of that large bequest would go to property maintenance. I don't see Wofford selling its identity, at least not that cheaply. I doubt anything serious comes of this, but we'll have to see how it all plays out.
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Re: Wofford Converse merger?

Postby youngterrier on Fri May 17, 2013 12:58 am

On the way back home from completing my first year at Wofford, I had a conversation with DJ about this. Conversations about mergers with Converse, aside, Wofford is growing a lot faster than we have space for.

For instance, we don't have a track, the one "track" we have is around the soccer field is full of pot-holes. The soccer field is too small, and has the head coach of UNC said when we they came over here a few years ago, we're not going to get big programs to come to Wofford to play if we don't have a bigger soccer field. We have no space to expand without tearing down the stands at snyder. On top of that, someone from the track team told me that someone offered to pay for a new track already, but there's nowhere on campus big enough for a regulation sized track (but again, I could be wrong about that). On top of that, the writing is on the wall to eventually have a Lacrosse Team in some sort of capacity beyond a club team. Anna Todd needs to be replaced, the gym part is terrible, and it could literally be brought closer to college street making it easier for other expansions.

Not to mention, in the next couple years we're looking to have a new row, a replacement dorm for Marsh dorm, and on top of that there needs to be more housing in general (something like 115 sophomores have been put on the waiting list for housing next year).

My point in all of this is that we've either expanded too fast or we've not planned our expansion as well as we thought we did. The new president has his work cut out for him. Wofford has to grow into its own first, and we need to get our own affairs in order before we talk about mergers.
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