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University of Cincinnati 'actively examining' petition to remove Marge Schott's name from stadium

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 08, 2020

CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati head baseball coach Scott Googins said Tuesday afternoon he supports the players who've started a petition to change the name of Marge Schott Stadium.

Googins said the Bearcats have discussed the petition as a team.

"To me, it's a great ballpark and we're very lucky to have it," Googins said when asked if the name should be changed. "To me, it should be a positive place. I want to make sure when people talk about our stadium that it's a positive, because it should be."

Googins, who will enter his fourth season as the Bearcats' coach in 2021, is a Granville, Ohio, native who grew up as a Reds fan.

The online petition seeking to change the name of UC's baseball stadium had 8,657 online signatures at 5:50 p.m. Thursday.

The change.org petition was started by former UC outfielder Jordan Ramey, a Moeller High School graduate.

Ramey said he wants to see the name of UC's baseball stadium change because of repeated offensive remarks the late Schott made in the 1990s as the Cincinnati Reds owner. Schott died in 2004.

University of Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said in a statement Monday afternoon he is always open to speaking with student-athletes about their concerns.

"We appreciate the willingness of our current and former student-athletes to have tough conversations and express their feelings about the name of our baseball stadium," Cunningham said in a statement. "The Department of Athletics is providing the university administration any information or context they may need to better understand this issue from the perspectives of our student-athletes."

The next scheduled meeting for the UC board of trustees is June 23, according to the board website. The trustees and President Neville Pinto are "actively examining this issue," according to a statement from UC spokesperson M.B. Reilly on Thursday.

"Their deliberations will no doubt benefit from -- and be accelerated by -- the guiding principles and conceptual framework set forth by the campus-wide committee that recently studied the naming change associated with the College of Arts & Sciences," Reilly wrote Thursday.

Additionally, the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation addressed major financial gifts with Schott's naming rights Thursday.

"While we cannot make excuses for the rhetoric made by Mrs. Schott decades ago, we can ask you to learn from Mrs. Schott’s mistakes as well as her great love for Cincinnati. We appreciate what these great organizations bring to Cincinnati and we fully support the decisions made by the organizations who have received grants from the Foundation. We will continue to support the Cincinnati community and the important work of our charities and non-profits," the statement read.

On Saturday, UC senior right-handed pitcher Nathan Moore, one of the Bearcats' captains, tweeted his support for the name change as well.

Moore said he's asking UC to change the name of the Marge Schott Stadium prior to the start of the 2021 season.

"I saw Jordan's petition, read it, and then I took to the internet and did my own research and tried to find the most credible sources as possible," Moore told WCPO. "I also talked to a few people in the Cincinnati community and just kind of asked them their opinion of her and just what they knew. And then once I found those things out, it was kind of saddening, honestly, just to know somebody who gave so much money to the community held such beliefs about the people she was helping. It really doesn't make any sense."

Former Boston Red Sox standout and three-time all-star Kevin Youkilis, a former UC baseball player, tweeted on Sunday that he agrees with Moore and the petition.

"We should change the name of the University of Cincinnati baseball stadium," Youkilis tweeted.

Two-time Major League Baseball All-Star player Josh Harrison, a former UC and Princeton High School standout, also tweeted his support for the change.

The UC baseball stadium was constructed in 2004 and the facility was named Marge Schott Stadium in the spring of 2006 after the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation made a $2 million gift to the Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village.

The stadium is located directly east of Johnny Bench Field, the Bearcats' previous home, where Youkilis played in college.

"Marge Schott Stadium is represented by players of all races, religious backgrounds, and ethnicities, and plays host to middle and high school baseball teams as well," the change.org petition reads in part. "The field is getting national attention every year and to promote somebody so racist is not only irresponsible, but it is also directly contradictory to the university's mission statement."

Ramey told WCPO he enjoys the UC community and the baseball program and felt it was the appropriate time for the university to make a name change because of all the attention given to social injustice around the globe.

“It's important to me, it's important to my family, because I'm from Cincinnati," Ramey told WCPO. "You look at the world and, you know, you say, 'Oh yeah, you want to change XYZ out there, right? It's all out there.' There's a lot of things that could change in Cincinnati that we will change, so I'm very confident in the people who are around me who stepped up to support this petition on this."

Ramey told WCPO he emailed UC president Neville Pinto about the petition.

“So many people feel so passionately about it," Ramey told WCPO. "It went viral in a week, right? So if so many people feel so personal about it, why do we allow that to continue? We can see parallels now all over the world. So I think if we do want to celebrate something, celebrate the fact that we should use our voice for and have the courage to use our voice. We're doing what we know is right.”