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21st NACDA Convention
Marriott's Marco Beach Resort
Marco Island, Florida
June 8-11, 1986


I want to welcome you to the 21st annual Convention. Those who are here for the first time, we are glad you are here. Those who have been coming back year after year, we are glad you are here again. If you follow the program that is printed you will stay on target and on time and move right along throughout until Wednesday noon. If you have any questions, any of the Officers will be happy to help you out. I would like to also emphasize to please do not use the exit doors. Those are only for the Officers. They are really for emergency. Come through the exhibitors. We want to thank these people. They come back year after year. They do a great service for NACDA and we appreciate their help. Take your time and see all of the displays that they have. I would also like to mention that anybody on this side is in the non-smoking section and anybody who has to smoke, Andy would put this a different way, but anybody who has to smoke, get as far over to that side as you can. That is a smoking side. We do have the standing mikes if we have a session where you want to come to the floor and ask a question or make a comment. Please introduce yourself, tell us where you are from and what school you represent. Speak directly into the mike. I want to thank those who worked with me and did all of the work for this program. We feel like we have a very sound program, perhaps one of the best that NACDA has ever put together. Dave Hart, who was the First Vice President from the University of Missouri, is now the Commissioner of the Southern Conference and directly responsible for several of the sessions. Carl Miller, from the University of The Pacific is replacing him and will take over to keep the sessions moving. At this time, I want to introduce a very good friend of mine, Gene Corrigan. Gene is a graduate of Duke University and all-America lacrosse player. He was the assistant commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and director of athletics at Washington and Lee, the University of Virginia and now, Notre Dame. One of the great administrators in our profession. At this time, please welcome Gene Corrigan who will introduce our keynote speaker for our program this morning.


Thank you very much Homer. It's a great pleasure for me to introduce your keynote speaker for many reasons. He is a famous man. He's famous because his daughter, Maria Shriver, is a celebrity, a true celebrity and not only that he is the father-in-law of Arnold Schwareenegger. Sargent Shriver is, as you will see when he gets up here, a great guy. He is a graduate of Yale, both undergraduate and law school. He almost wouldn't tell me what year it was at Yale. You won't believe his energy and enthusiasm; the class of '38. Is there anybody in here in the class of '38?

He was the first director of the Peace Corps as you well know; one of the great organizations that this country has ever set up. He also was a candidate for Vice President of the United States. He's done many things with his life. He has been an ambassador and he's known throughout the world. The way I grew to know him was through the Special Olympics. As you know, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Sargent's wife, was the founder of Special Olympics. You hear about founding things and you sometimes may see the results. If you haven't been involved in it, you don't know what a tremendous commitment it has been in the lives of the Shriver family to have the Special Olympics be where it is. We are fortunate enough at Notre Dame and in South Bend to be the host of the International Special Olympic Games in late July and early August of 1987. It is a tremendous commitment for our community to be involved in something like this. One of the great things is it has brought us in contact with Sargent Shriver and with Eunice and the people who have committed their lives to helping the mentally retarded. To have Sargent take the time to come down here and speak to us is to our benefit. He is a delightful man, a good friend and the kind of a guy who would retire from his law firm and take over the presidency of Special Olympics International. It's a big job and it's a big man, Sargent Shriver.


Thank you very much. I thank Gene Corrigan, Mr. President, Andy Mooradian, Vice President Homer Rice, all of the Officers of NACDA and members of your Executive Committee, and ladies and gentlemen. It's a real thrill for me to be introduced by Gene Corrigan and described as Maria's father, Eunice's husband, Arnold's father-in-law, but he forgot one thing, I've got three other sons to protect me from Arnold. I think I'm going to need them. He forgot one other thing too, which is even more important, and one of the great moments of my life. I played substitute second baseman for Yale and never thought I would have the chance to speak to even one athletic director on terms of equality. So, when I'm talking to you, the men and women who control sports in America, I really am honored. I'm honored because sports have been a tremendous influence and part of my life. Since you know that I graduated from college in 1938, you'll not be surprised to hear that I saw Babe Ruth hit a lot of home runs. I've got autographed balls signed by Babe Ruth. I saw Walter Johnson pitch. I just brag up here about some things you all never have seen. I saw Walter Johnson pitch in the seventh game of the World Series in 1924 in Washington. I saw Otto Graham throw passes. I saw Ali and Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. I even saw Jack Dempsey fight Gene Tunney. Is there anybody here who saw that fight? Nobody I'm sure.

But, nothing can surpass the chance today to talk to you, the men and women who more than any other group in our country, are in control of the future of sports in America. We all like to talk about past heroes and great events, but the future of sports is in your hands and that future is right now. I'm not talking about the politics and sports or economics or foreign affairs or military security, any of that stuff. I'm talking about athletics and sports. For I believe that sports, the philosophy that we have about sports, the objectives we hope to achieve through sports, the ways sports can elevate our national life as much or more than any other activity in which Americans take part. More than business, more than the learned professions, more than politics, sports can inspire the highest values because sports touches everyone and can transform everyone.

I've seen that happen and let me explain to you what I mean. At 7:00 p.m., July 31, 1987, in the stadium and on the playing fields of Notre Dame, there will take place the largest athletic event ever staged on a NCAA campus in the history of America. Let me say that again in a different way. The International Summer Special Olympic Games at Notre Dame next year will bring together the largest number of athletic competitors, coaches and sports officials ever assembled on a NCAA campus. More than 5,000 participants in 20 official and demonstration sports coming from 65 nations will begin their march into Notre Dame stadium at 7:00 p.m. sharp, with every seat filled and ABC Television Broadcasting the event live on prime time. The President of the United States will probably be in attendance. The eyes of TV viewers on six continents will be watching. Everyone of those athletes will be fully equipped, fully coached, fully prepared and everyone of them will be mentally retarded. Only sports could achieve that incredible reality. Twenty years ago, not one of those athletes would have been playing any sports. No one, not even their parent~ would have seen them competing in any contest. Most of them were locked up in institutions, were hidden away in private homes and an embarrassment to their parents. They were an economic drain on society and another inexplicable burden visited on suffering humanity by an inscrutable God. Who was at fault? Why did these people exist? What good could they possibly be? Why was my son or my daughter so afflicted? Millions of parents asked. Was it lor my wife or our parents who did something wrong? Why, oh God, why have you cursed me?

Notre Dame and St. Mary's next year, instead of cursing parents will be cheering. Instead of hiding they will be bragging. Ten thousand of them will be wearing T-shirts with their identities blazened on their chests. They will be sitting in special reserved seats attending special parties, appearing on television themselves. They and thousands and thousands of all races, nationalities, ages, creeds and political parties, will be filled with joy. This time it will not be a shot heard 'round the world from Lexington and Concord, but a smile sent 'round the world from every face of every person in that huge throng. Those smiles will not be shallow momentary pasted-on-smiles flashed for public consumption by professionals. For not one of the coaches, athletic directors, politicians, foreign dignitaries, athletes, officials, ticket takers, hot dog and hamburger people, Coca Cola dispensers, musicians, composers, policemen, medical doctors or nurses will have been paid an extra dime for their services.

They and the athletes will all be amateurs; pure amateurs brought together by love of sports, love of competition, love of life and love for one another. They will be there in substantial part because of you, the men and women of NACDA, and because of sports. Only sports could bring them together at Notre Dame. Only sports could bring together communists and capitalists, Jews and Arabs, Whites and Blacks and Orientals, old and young, rich and poor, the learned and the retarded. That's what sports can do for our country and for the world and that's why I am here to thank you and to applaud you and to tell you that we at Special Olympics, and you, are pulling off one of the greatest miracles of modern times. Faced with terrorism and violence everywhere, confronted by boycotts and barriers of every kind, defenses as we all say, defenses under the sea, defenses on land, in the air in outer space, we shall be opening up new avenues of communication and new friendships; transcending all of the politics, all of the races, all the economic arguments of our times. We will be uniting the world by uniting men and women everywhere in the service of the weakest and most helpless of all human beings, the mentally retarded.

Without you, without NACDA, without the NCAA, little or none of this would be possible. Gene Corrigan, of course, has been helping from the beginning. Without him, without Father Hesburgh, the President of Notre Dame, and Father Joyce; without all of their coaches and their splendid athletic facilities, Special Olympics would not be able to offer hospitality to all nations.

But, it is also true that in every state and on scores of college campuses, NACDA members have taken the lead in Special Olympics activities. Women and men, St. Mary's College in South Bend as well as Notre Dame, businessmen, lawyers, accountants, computer experts, groundskeepers, media specialists are all joining Special Olympics to make these 1987 Games a spectacular success. Thank you. Thanks to everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. Some puzzling questions, however, remain. Why is Special Olympics the fastest growing sports program in the world? That's a huge statement, but it's true. Special Olympics is now spreading out over the entire People's Republic of China. There area billion people there. In one state as we would call it, I was shocked and overwhelmed when I was there last year and there are 70 million Chinese. That means that in that one area, there are three million mentally retarded persons in need of coaching. Why is it that Special Olympics is accepted and welcomed? We are begged to come into the People's Republic of China, into Poland, into Ethiopia, where there is nothing, into Yugoslavia, into Cuba by Fidel Castro, into Africa, into the Caribbean, down to New Zealand, up to Hong Kong, in Jordan, in Israel and by the north and south Irish working together. That is the most incredible part of all. I say that because of the fighting Irish represented there. Special Olympics today is the only activity in which the northern Irish and the southern Irish combine to work together. Later this summer there will be Special Olympic Games in Belfast and all of the participants and coaches and parents from southern Ireland will go up to Belfast and they'll march into Belfast Stadium under the flag of Special Olympics and there will be no trouble. That will be the only thing taking place in northern Ireland where the southern Irish participate. The only thing. It's the only thing which the Jordanians and the Israelis do together.

Now it's not easy to answer those questions or that sentence or to explain that ~eality in a single sentence, but I think that for you people in sports, and for all of us, it's worth pondering about why that happens. Let me begin by starting at home. That's always the best place to start. Didn't Thomas Edison invent the electric light in his basement? I think he did and that wonderful fellow out in California started the computer industry in his garage. Well, Special Olympics started, in a sense, in our backyard. Back in the '60s and '50s and even earlier, everybody said that mentally retarded couldn't swim, they couldn't play team games, they couldn't play contact sports. They'll get hurt, we were told, playing hockey or basketball or soccer or skiing. They're not coordinated enough to figure skate or to do gymnastics. They can't run 400 yards let alone a mile.

I heard all of those statements myself, allover the country. So did my wife, but she didn't believe them. She decided to test out those theories herself. We had a farm in Maryland and so she brought high school kids as volunteers for a month each spring, along with about lOO, believe it or not, mentally retarded people, youngsters mostly. She brought them together in a day camp and she experimented for 30 days every spring. She tried swimming and running, horseback riding, softball, touch football, archery, rope climbing, everything you could think. She had some good coaches to help her. Finally, in 1968, she decided the experts were all wrong and with the help of the officials of the Chicago Park District, which runs all of the parks in that city, she staged the very first Special olympics Games in Soldier Field. It was something to behold. We had 1,250 spectators in a stadium holding 103,000 people. We felt lonesome there. They came from 13 states and Canada. Ten people came from France. We had Mayor Daley there and Frank Gifford and we had our own eyes. We could see the Canadians playing floor hockey, six to a side, successfully performing team sports. We could see the retarded running 400 yards and not get exhausted. We could see them swimming and jumping and laughing and smiling. We could hear Mayor Daley as he sat between us and one moment exclaim, "Eunice, the world will never be the same after these Games." Then we were truly international and national.

My wife gave it all she had, she was everywhere and into everything. Together we began to learn from the retarded, not from the experts. We learned that the retarded could not only run 400 yards.but they could run a mile and they could run two miles. They could not only swim 50 meters, they could swim 400 and 800 meters. They could participate in relay races. We learned they could not only play floor hockey, six to a side, but soccer with full teams, basketball and softball. We learned they could not only run, swim and jump but they could perform gymnastic routines, ski downhill, figure skate and take on full-time jobs in parks and recreation departments. They now teach sports to normal children. And, we found out that old age was no barrier for them. Men and women, 50, 60, 70-years old showed us that they too could run 400-yard races and enjoy themselves in sports. Most of all, we found out that they are pure amateurs.

There is no money under the table in Special olympics. There is no alumni interference, you will all be pleased to hear, and no drugs. In fact, Special Olympics may be the only international drug-free non-political, non-violent sports program in the whole world.

All this is only a little bit of what we have learned from the mentally retarded and from Special Olympics. I haven't even mentioned our "marvelous moments," as we call them at Special Olympics headquarters. The phone rang and Loretta Clayborne's coach told us the unbelievable news that Loretta, a Special Olympics runner from York, Pennsylvania had just finished the Boston Marathon ahead of 350 normal women. Or, the evening in Dublin, Ireland, when the Irish athletes from Northern Ireland marched past the reviewing stand in front of the President of Ireland to receive a standing ovation from all of the southern Irish in attendance at the European Special Olympic Games. Or the letter which arrived just last week from the crowned Prince of Jordan, brother of the King of Jordan, telling us that his country is going to send a young single woman sports expert to our country this summer to study athletics for the retarded. In his letter, he said she will be the first single woman ever sent for training abroad at government expense by a Moslem country.

Are the mentally retarded helping to unite the world and free us all from superstition, fear and envy? I'll guarantee you that they are. I could go on and on telling you about Special Olympics in Korea or Japan, in Kenya, in France, in Belgium, in Portugal, in Chile, in Panama, even in El Salvador in the midst of the fighting, but you've heard enough. You share our dream. You believe as we do that sports, especially true amateur sports, can unite the world. In sports we can all play. We can all compete and we can all earn respect. Our Special Olympics both expresses that philosophy the best possible way because it expresses faultlessly the spirit of true sportsmanship. At every Games, the Special Olympians, before they compete, say this pledge: Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Athletes who compete with that philosophy will achieve fully our dream for all the millions of our participants. Our dream that they will display genuine skill in their sport, that they will demonstrate courage in the competition, that they will share their good fortune with their competitors as well as their friends, and as a result, that they will experience the full joy given by God to all those who do the best they can with the gifts He has given to them. Thank you very much.


Sargent Shriver, let me say that's the most meaningful address we've ever had in the history of NACDA as a Keynote Address. Thank you sir. You may have some questions regarding the Special Olympics, the program that he has talked to us about this morning. If so, please go to the mike and he certainly will be happy to stay a few moments with us for any questions you may have. I believe you've touched all bases. as a baseball player at Yale. Thank you again. He has many booklets here if you have any interest. I'm sure you do. They are here at the table. This is a very worthwhile program. I wish the best of luck to Sargent Shriver for the Games you are going to have. We have about 15 minutes before our next session. If you'll be back and ready to go promptly at 9:30, you'll hear all about Fell Grants. You're dismissed until that time.