NCAA DIVISIONS II-III: WHAT LIES IN THE FUTURE?
(Monday, June 6- 11:15 a.m. -12:30 p.m.)
Our session today is entitled, "What Lies in The Future" in respect to Divisions II and III athletic programs. We're honored this morning to have Dick Schultz, the executive director of the NCAA, to talk to My name is Bob Hiegert. I'm the athletic director at California State University at Northridge and a membE of the Executive Committee. One of the privileges you get is to introduce speakers. I want to present so~ of the problems that lie before me before we get into Mr. Schultz's comments.
I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Schultz at the NCAA convention in Nashville this past January and asked him if he would be interested in speaking to this group, specifically Division II and Division about our future. That was after he had graciously accepted to speak to the west coast Division II and Division III athletic directors last September. In that time, he was named executive director of the NC, and he still is able to come out and carryon an important dialogue with us.
Mr. Schultz has a tremendous background in intercollegiate athletics and education. He is a graduatE of Central Iowa College and he was an all-conference baseball, football and basketball player there. He
became a very successful high school coach, athletic director and teacher. During that period of time, he found time to be a professional baseball player, a manager of a professional baseball team and started his home construction business and has been a manager and consultant among his other educational duties over ti years. In 1960 he moved to the University of Iowa to work on a master's program and was the freshmen baset and basketball coach at that time. In 1964 he was appointed the head baseball coach at the University of ] and assistant basketball coach. From 1970 to 1974, he was the head basketball coach. In 1974 to 1976, he became a special assistant to the president at the University of Iowa. In 1976 to 1981 he was at Cornell
University as athletic director. He then moved to the University of Virginia where he served a six-year tE as athletic director. In 1987, he was named the executive director of the NCAA.
I appreciate the opportunity to come here and spend some time with you. I wish I had a crystal ball be able to make some projections for you. All I can do is reiterate some concerns that you have and I do 1 to keep my remarks fairly brief so that we can have an interchange and discuss the items you would like to discuss. Perhaps I can provide some insight, but most importantly, I can hear what those concerns are. TI is very important so that from a national association standpoint, we can deal with some of those concerns.
When we talk about Division II and Division III, we are talking about a very special group. Divisior III is the largest of all three of our divisions. Division II is the smallest. Many times we hear Divisic II referred to as the transition Division. We have a small group of schools who are Division II, theyare committed to Division II and they are always going to be in Division II. We also have those people who tr! along the way. They are in Division III and want to be Division I so they use Division II as the stepping stone. We have another group of people in Division II who have been there a while and really want to get j Division I mainly because of the basketball opportunity. We have very few going the other way and I'm
concerned about that.
We need to do a lot of things to stabilize Division II. I'm probably as concerned about Division ] any division we have. Not that we don't have problems and concerns in the other two divisions, but I thj have some that are very unique to Division II that we need to deal with. We need to strengthen Division and make it a very attractive division.
When we think of Division II, we shouldn't think of it as a transition division. We should think c as a division that has a very important place in the NCAA. We have to think of it as a division that is for those schools that want a type of athletic program that really falls between financial aid based on ~ and an all-out commitment to a highly a competitive program. We need Division II for those who want to
recruit people because they want to recruit on the basis of athletic ability. But they want to put some limits to it. It's really what Division II is. It's not a transition division and it's a division that need to make a very viable and exciting one and a Division that people want to be a part of.
We have to be concerned because we're losing numbers there. In some parts of the country it's ver difficult for you to even playa Division II schedule. As you start to take a look at the cost of doing business, you suddenly figure out that maybe it's cheaper for us to be Division I because there are more Division I schools in our areas. Perhaps the cost that will exist to move us to Division I is really go be less money than we're going to spend travelling great distances to playa complete Division II schedu
How do we do that? What can we do to make Division II more viable? Most of those answers have to come from you. I'm certainly willing to listen to your suggestions and see what thoughts you have on what we can do to stabilize Division II and make it a very attractive and viable part of the NCAA.
One thought is to enhance the Division II basketball championship. This causes a lot of floating and movement from Division II to Division I. You're spending a certain amount of dollars on athletic scholarships already in Division II. You take a look at the dollars available at the Division I tournament. It's a real temptation. We're losing schools to Division I that really shouldn't be there; financially shouldn't be
there and would be much better off in every respect in Division II, but the Division I basketball is pulling us up there. We need to make Division II basketball more attractive. It's easier said than done, but there are probably some things we can do to enhance that tournament.
Division III has been fairly stable. When you take a look at Division III when it comes to financial aid, you have as much diversity of interest and concern in philosophy on how financial aid should be administered as we have in Division I. Division II is probably a lot more stable in that respect. In
Division I we have a group of schools who think there ought to be a stipend for athletes and some who want to keep the Pell Grant down low, and so on and so forth. In Division II you have your scholarship limits and you know what they are. You're going to stay within that forum. In Division III, it's financial aid based on need. However, there are a lot of different philosophies floating around as to how that financial aid based on need should be administered. There was a vote in January that says athletic ability will not be considered in providing financial aid in Division III. There are a lot of Division III people who don't agree with that. They want to make athletic ability a part of administering financial aid.
If we were totally honest with ourselves and look at the approximately 900 members that make up the association, we've probably got at least 60 schools in Division I that would be a lot better off in Division
II and only loo schools in Division III that philosophically are much closer to Division II. If some miracle would take place so that the loo here and the 50 here would move into Division II, we'd have a great Division II and Division III would be a lot happier. How does that happen? I don't have the answers to that. Maybe you do. Maybe it will never happen. But, whether it happens or doesn't happen, we need to be working to make these divisions viable.
I go back to a statement I made in Nashville in January. It needs to be the basis that you need to think about -it's very important that each institution take a look at its athletic program and make sure
that that program fits philosophically with your institution. Secondly, that it fits financially with what your resources are. A lot of our problems in intercollegiate athletics today are because we aspire to be something that we can't be. We want to be somebody that we can't be because our neighbors down the road are there and we have this feeling that if we're going to compete for students, not athletes but for students, we have to do what they're going to do or we're not going to compete for students. Enrollment becomes so very important. Many times we make decisions to do things athletically that really don't fit philosophically with what our institutions are all about. And more importantly, they just don't fit financially. Then we find ourselves in a very precarious situation in that we have made this commitment to do this and we get two or three years into it and we don't want to back off, but maybe we're forced to back off.
So, philosophy and budget as it applies to your institution needs to be the basis for everything that you do. If somehow we could convince everyone in intercollegiate athletics, regardless of division, that that's how the game works, we would find that our problems would be less. We would be able to survive and do the things that we want to do in a much more orderly fashion, and we would all be much better off financially.
You heard me mention federation in January. It's interesting the discussions that have triggered.
I thought we ought to become more fully federated. I said that perhaps if we could get ourselves to a fully federated state, we could then help solve some of the legislative problems because perhaps we could meet as a federated group in one year and as a group of the whole the next year. This in itself would reduce the amount of legislation we have.
I'm talking about federation strictly from the standpoint of doing things more effectively as an association and simplify things we do as an association. I'm not talking about a Division IV. There are all kinds of thoughts and anticipations about federation. Some think that all the big schools will take the money and run or we're not going to be able to do this or we're not going to be able to do that. We still need this blanket organization. I only see about two or three things that need to happen to get us to the point where we can have the type of federation that will enable us to do things more efficiently and to be much more effective.
One step the executive committee has already taken is to eliminate the multi-divisional classification championships. Division III likes that because especially in the sport of football. Division I schools playing Division III football have created some serious problems. On the other hand, you have Division I now talking about 1-!!! football and in concept, that sounds very good. It will solve a Division III problem, but now it also raises some concerns for I-!! and Division II. You can see the schools ready to make a commitment
to basketball and we're going to lose more Division II schools because they're going to move to Division I. They're going to put the football in 1-!!!, which will save them money. They're going to take that extra moneyand put it in basketball and try to compete there. That may be a worthy concern.
I-AA schools, which probably have the toughest financial nut to cut of anybody in football, because they're spending almost as much money in their football programs as the last 15 or 20 schools in I-!, but they're not drawing the crowds and they don't have the television revenue. Those schools are having some rl challenges financially. They can see some of the I-!! schools dropping I-!! football and going I-!!! becauJ financial aid is based on need and that solves a financial problem for them. I think while I-!!! looks go~ in concept, you really have to take a look at everything that's happening and be sure that all those issues are discussed.
I envision federation is along the same lines we have right now. I don't see any new lines drawn and think that is one concern that people have. I think virtually, you have to take basketball out of it. What we're really talking about in federation is allowing Division I-A to have the ability to determine what thej financial aid package should be, what their initial eligibility should be and what their academic progress rule should be. All divisions should have the ability to do the same thing. You ought to be able to make those decisions independently without worrying what the impact is going to be on this other group. If we cm arrive at that point, we'll find that life will be much easier for everyone and we'll have a lot of happier people. They'll feel like their determining what their own programs should be.
Don't think of it in terms that Divsion II or Division III will receive less money. We have to keep : mind that as far as the NCAA is concerned, especially since the football deregulation lawsuit, that Divisiol basketball drives this association financially. Under the current situation, basically 60 percent of the m proceeds from Division I basketball goes back to the participating schools and 40 percent goes to the NCAA. That 40 percent funds about 80 percent of the operating revenue. The rest of that revenue comes from membership fees, which is very low as you well know, and the marketing programs from a fewother championships. So, financially, this association is driven by Divsion I men's basketball. That provides tJ
dollars for the Block Grant in Division II and Division III.
When we talk about any type of federation, we're talking about a blanket organization where funding commitments are still made and are still offered to other divisions. Hopefully, it is an improvement in 1
One other concern that I've heard is the whole selection process when it comes to playoff championsl I know there is concern now with Division II members on the introduction of computers and power rating ~
the baseball selection which in the past, have been limited to Division I basketball. The concern is tha1 soon as the power rating is introduced, Division I schools don't want to play you anymore because they ha' everything to lose and nothing to gain .If they play you and win , it doesn't help their power rating any if they play you and lose, it can really have an adverse impact. This is an issue which has to be address:
I think you realize that those decisions are made by the sports committees and are usually recommenc to the executive committee for approval. If you have some concerns about the selection process, we ought know about it. It needs to then be referred back to those sports committees so they can deal with the is:
Personally, I think it's very important that we have strong divisions in Division II and Division II] I'm interested and willing to listen to any new concepts that you might have, or things that we can do to t you deal with and solve problems that you have, whether they're financial or philosophical. We don't have of the answers and we probably can't solve all of the problems, but we are willing to be a working partner with you.
FROM THE FLOOR:
How do you feel about national collegiate championships?
Let's throw the session to questions you might have.
We still have a few national collegiate championships. They are in sports where there really aren'1 enough in anyone division to sustain a divisional championship. If you're really going to strengthen yO\ division, you need to have divisional championships. Wrestling has been the sport that has the largest il of individual athletes moving into a Division I championship and having some success. In a way, you're telling your athletes that our level really isn't good enough for you, but we're going to let you compete and then maybe you can move onto this other championship. I'm not opposed to national collegiate championships. If we have one championship that all divisions were to participate in, I think that's fin4 if the interest in a certain sport dictates that.
If you have a divisional championship and you can then move into a different divisional championship, in effect, that waters down what you're really trying to do in your own division. I don't know if there is grandfathering possibilities there or not. The merits of that really need to be studied.
Thank you and I'll be around here until our lunch on Tuesday.