Task Force to Examine Health, Welfare of Student Athletes at Illinois Wesleyan
September 9, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Illinois Wesleyan President Richard F. Wilson has appointed a
five-member task force to review the University’s policies and procedures with regard
to the health and welfare of student-athletes in the wake of last month’s death of
a senior football player.
Doug Schmied, 21, offensive lineman and senior co-captain, died on August 24 during
the football team’s preseason practices.
“The tragic death of Doug Schmied represents one of the saddest periods in the history
of Illinois Wesleyan,” Wilson wrote in his letter charging the task force with its
work. “I find myself driven to do whatever is possible to ensure we never lose another
student athlete in this way.”
The task force will be coordinated by Roger Schnaitter, acting provost, and Jeff Frick,
acting registrar and faculty representative to the NCAA. Other members will be Dennie
Bridges, director of athletics; Kathy Cavins, vice president for student affairs and
dean of students; and Kim Nelson-Brown, associate athletic director.
According to Wilson, the task force will be asked to address two matters in separate
reports. Schnaitter will coordinate the review of events leading up to Schmied’s hospitalization
while Frick will coordinate a broader examination of practices and policies.
“The health and welfare of student athletes is of paramount importance to the University,
and we must make sure that we are doing everything possible to protect student athletes
while they are training, practicing, and competing,” Wilson said. “The task force
is asked to compare our policies and procedures with best practices at the collegiate
level and to make recommendations for change where warranted. The review should be
comprehensive and cover all areas where health and safety risks exist or could be
In its work, the task force will be asked to consult widely not only with athletic
administrators and coaches within Illinois Wesleyan but also those at other institutions
as well as experts on specific issues.
Wilson has asked that the task force make recommendations on matters that need attention
as soon as they are identified so that they can be addressed immediately rather than
waiting for the final report to be forwarded to him.
Illinois Wesleyan has 18 varsity sports with almost 400 students involved in intercollegiate