Walk This Way - Friday June 30, 2017
Re-Aired on Friday July 7, 2017
Today is a bad day for the students at the Ohio State Lima and Rhodes State College Campus. And a bad day for a great guy.
It’s the final day for Rob Livchak as the Recreation and Athletics Director.
As I received word from Rob via email this morning I naturally wondered why he was being let go. So I called him.
He didn’t have a specific reason as to why he was dismissed and didn’t “throw anybody under the bus”. He did indicate that there had been some movement to undermine him for several years due to what I would characterize as “personality conflicts”.
And, it was actually a year-long firing, as they reduced his status to “interim director” last year, effectively making him like a part-time, contract employee.
Livchak said that there has been mixed messages as to the importance of athletics in so far as the budget had been cut nearly in half in recent years but there was also some inordinate focus on more winning.
For the record, this past season was pretty successful for the Barons with the women’s basketball and volleyball teams claiming ORCC titles while the baseball and men’s golf teams were also competitive in the conference.
It’s my understanding that the ultimate decision was a function of the OSU side of campus, so I decided to contact OSU Lima to see if they had any clarification on Rob’s firing. There was none.
The only response from OSU Lima came when I asked if this signaled a possible dropping of athletics. The answer was that this did not signal that they would be dropping athletics on campus and that there would a release when a new person was hired.
That’s a sad irony: I’ll get a release when they hire Livchak’s replacement yet they have no comment as they kick him to the curb after 26 years of loyal service to the campus and its students.
There are five sports offered at OSU-Lima/Rhodes State and Livchak has coached four of them at one time or another. His most recent assignment was as men’s basketball coach.
Livchak gave his all to Baron Athletics and his treatment by the OSU administration is a sad commentary on the state of affairs on the campus. And, while the decision is technically the domain of OSU, I don’t think anybody at Rhodes State lifted a finger to stop Livchak’s dismissal. In fact, I’m persuaded that the brass at Rhodes doesn’t even care if there’s athletics on their campus. After all they’re about to build a big facility downtown don’t you know.
It’s the right of the administrations to run the campus and programs as they see fit. But they have a responsibility to the public as well.
If they think Livchak was not performing up to their expectations they owe it to their students and the community to say that. They should also explain what they see as the overall vision for the department as the change is made.
Instead we got silence.
Well, since the folks at OSU Lima or Rhodes State won’t say it, let me say. Thanks Rob Livchak for all you’ve done for the Barons. You busted it for the kids and you deserve better.