In her first eight months as Athletic Director of Earlham College, Julie Kline has already been
confronted by many difficult decisions, including budget cuts and the suspension of the football
program for the 2019 season.
Kline spent the nine years prior to taking the job to Earlham as Athletic Director at La Verne
University in California where she simultaneously served on three NCAA committees.
On Earlham’s Budget Cuts
The Earlham budget cuts were officially announced on January 23rd. Like the rest of the school,
the athletic department was not safe from the cuts and faces a $458,000 cut from their previous
$3,094,254 budget. Kline assured The Word that the cuts will not affect the athletic programs.
The affects of the cuts on the athletics department were subtle. “We did take a hit,” Kline
admitted, “we lost an administrative position within the department due to the budget reduction
On the Football Program Suspension
Though no programs will be affected by the budget cuts, Kline still had to face major action
against the college’s largest program, the football team.
“That was a big challenge,” she reflected. “There are a lot of factors that go into a decision like
that. I feel like we made the best decision we could at the time.”
She made it clear, however that the decision was just the first step in a longer process. “We are
going to have football at Earlham College; we’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it well
and provide the experience our student athletes deserve.”
Kline revealed that completely abandoning the football program was on the table, but in the end,
they opted to pursue the path of adjusting the program. She insists that “we couldn’t continue at
the pace we were going.” After going five straight years without a win, the decision was made
that the program needs a major overhaul; Kline made the sentiment clear, declaring that “if
we’re going to do this, we’re are going to do this right.”
The Football Review Committee was formed to draw up a plan to bring the football program
back for the 2020 academic year. They met for the first time this year on the 16th of January.
The committee consists of twelve people with varying backgrounds relating to the football team
and is not open to the public. Kline explained that there was not any substantive progress in the
first committee meeting because they are still in the information gathering stage at the moment.
“We are just rolling up our sleeves and organizing information that the committee needs to
collect, so that we can put all of that together in a final report for the Board of Trustees in June.”
Members of the football alumni were not happy about the suspension, which Kline optimistically
interprets as a good thing. “From my perspective,” said Kline, “I compare it to being a parent. I
have had my experiences in the world and as a parent I want my kids to have a better
experience then I ever did, I want our alumnus to want our football program and our student
athletes to have a better experience.”
She went on to explain that she hopes the alumni understand the actions she took are for the
good of the program. “This decision was for the athletes,” she explained. “It would have been
easy to hire another coach, have the same experience and just keep going. Is that what the
Julie’s Plan for the Future
Kline came from an athletic program that had more success under her supervision than Earlham
has seen in years. However, Kline plans to turn that around.
“The ball is already rolling,” Kline declared. “I think we are addressing it from a cultural
standpoint where we are building a team environment within our staff and fostering a
championship mentality. A part of this culture is raising the level of accountability within every
program and staff member. That starts with me role-modeling that behavior for them.”
Kline is excited about the foundation she is working to create for the program and strives toward
forward progress. Though results will not show over night, Kline expects the results of her hard
work to start showing in three to five years.