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How Tulane Kept its Athletics Program Going After Hurricane Katrina

Geoff Block

Geoff Block is a respected financial executive who guided strategy at New York’s Crown Growth Partners for many years and is currently focused on a family investment portfolio with RLB Squared. A business graduate of Tulane University, Geoff Block contributes to his alma mater’s athletics and business departments.

When the city of New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Tulane’s Green Wave faced a steep curve of rebuilding in the wake of utter devastation. The school shut down for four months, reflecting the area's lack of municipal services as well as damage to buildings on campus. With the athletics program in danger of being suspended when classes reopened, its director was ultimately able to convince the school president that continuing the sports program would be a net positive for the community and instill a sense of purpose and pride.

Due to serious financial constraints, the initial plan was to have the football team only play games within the conference. Fortunately, other schools on the regular schedule were willing to help out in meaningful ways. As reported in the Capital Gazette, one gesture of goodwill involved the Naval Academy Athletic Association's footing the full range of hotel and flight expenses to make a game between the Green Wave and Midshipmen in Annapolis a reality. With Tulane able to maintain its original football schedule, a key component of campus life was kept alive at a critical moment.

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