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June 09, 1993 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-06-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Wednesday, June 9, 1993 - The Michigan Daly Summer Weekly -12

GYMNASTICS
Continued from page 10
1995 -one year after the men's team
is to be dropped.
Weidenbach added the men's team
was not informed of the decision until
after it was made.
Gymnastics coach Bob Darden
could not be reached for comment, but
hisassistantcoachMikeMilidonissaid
the coaching staff wasnotpleased with
the announcement.

"To host the Big Ten champion-
ship is acelebration and agraduation,"
Milidonis said. "The Athletic Depart-
ment has taken that aspect away from
the team."
He added thathe felt the seniors are
being denied the opportunity to per-
form in their last meet in front of their
family and friends.
"This is just indicative of the way
the Athletic Department has treated
our entire program." he said.
He said the Athletic Department is

denying itself the opportunity to show
the rest of the Big Ten that the school
ranks among the top in its ability to
host a high-profile event.
Milidonis dismissed the idea that
Weidenbach might have feared the
gymnasts would have used the cham-
pionships as a forum for protest.
In 1990, the Wisconsin men's team
used the Big Ten championships to
protest Wisconsin's decision to drop
the sport.
The team wore an upside down

r 1 1

A tE

I a
I -A. llv-E

"W" on its warmups and removed all
signs of school identification from its
competition uniforms.Despite thepro-
test, the sport was dropped at the con-
clusion of the season.
"It would be very immature of the
AthleticDepartment tothink we would
respond that way," Milidonis said.
Members of the men's gymnastics
team said they felt slighted by
Weidenbach's decision.
"'This is a stab in the back," Corey
Huttenga said.
Huttenga, ajunior, said he feels the
Athletic Department is afraid that it
would look bad if the team performs
well at the Big Ten championship.
"It appears that Weidenbach is
against us," he said.
He concludedthelossoftheoppor-
tunity to host a Big Ten championship
would have a discouraging effect on
the team.
"We'regoingbackwardinourfight
to save the program," he said.
Senior gymnast Rich Dopp, how-
ever, disagreed the announcement
would have a negative effect on the
team's outlook on next year.
"As soon as the season starts, we'll
have to come hard out of the starting
blocks," Dopp said. "We'll definitely
have something to prove."
Doppadmittedhewasconfusedby
Weidenbach's actions in dealing with
the gymnasts.
"He makes comments to us and
asks if we can have a good experience
next year," Dopp said. "Yet, he seems
to do everything in his power to pre-
vent that."
All-AmericanseniorBrianWinkler
said Weidenbach's decision hit him
hard.
"I'mprettyupset,"Winklersaid. "I
thought hosting Big Ten's would be
one of the highlights of my career at
Michigan."'

He added that he feels
Weidenbach is not treating the team
with any amount of consideration.
"That (Weidenbach) took that
away from us is really depressing,"
Winkler said.
Junior Paul Mariani said he was
frustrated that the decision was made
by an athletic director who is retiring
from the position.
"I don't think Weidenbach is in
any position to take awayfBig Ten's,"
Marianisaid. "I don't think he should
have any influence on these deci-
sions."
Weidenbach has announced that
he will retire from his current posi-
tion at the end of this year.
Michigan women's gymnastics
coach Bev Plocki said she was dis-
mayed by the announcement.
"It would be a nice thing for the
athletes to close the books by having
a really nice home event," Plocki
said.
Shesaidsheisinfullfavorofaco-
ed championship if it would save the
men's program.
"I would have certain reserva-
tions about hosting a co-ed champi-
onship if I am the only team without
a male counterpart," Plocki added.
Currently, the seven Big Ten
schoolswithgymnasticssponsorboth
a men's and a women's team.
"AboveallIamhoping the men's
team will get a reprieve and things
can continue on," she said.
DennisLaBissoniere,information
services director for the Big Ten, said
it is rare for a school to decide not to
sponsor a conference championship.
He added the Big Ten has no
definite plans at this point to convert
toaco-edgymnasticschampionships
and that a committee has been con-
vened to investigate the validity of
such a change.

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