NCAA AND NAIA
OLYMPIC SPORTS AND COLLEGES: A BETTER MARRIAGE
(Monday, June 5, -11:15 a.m. -12:30 p.m.)
My name is Pat Meiser-McKnett. I'm the associate director of athletics at the University of Connecticut. Today's panel deals with the Olympic sports and the colleges. I feel very privileged to introduce to you our panelists. I believe we have some of the finest and most experienced men in the COt if not the world, in the area of amateur athletics and I think we're very fortunate to have them with us today.
I'd like to introduce you to the panelists. To my far right is Steve Morgan who is the
associate executive director of the NCAA and he will be here today to be involved in the question-and-answer session.
To Steve's left is Ollan Cassell who is the executive director of The Athletic Congress. Ollan is a 1961 University of Houston graduate, a former gold medalist and world record holder in the 1,600 meter relay from the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. His entire career has been spent in the advancement of amateur athletics. In 1965 he began as track and field administrator for the AAU and eventually became its chief executive officer in 1970. He held that position for eight years and then chose to move to The Athletics Congress organization and become its CEO. He has been with that organization since 1980.
To Ollan's left is Ray Essick. Ray is the executive director of the U.S. Swimming organization. He ha held that position since 1976. His coaching background include stints at the high school level as well as at Southern Illinois and, finally, at Harvard University. Currently, he is responsible for all phases of competitive swimming in the United States and that includes the budgeting, financing, technical planning, the coordinating of sponsorship relationships in communications, and he does this with all swimming groups and individuals in the U.S. We feel fortunate to have Ray with us today.
To my second left is, George Killian who is the executive director of the National Junior College Athletics Association. His educational background includes a bachelor's degree from Ohio Northern Universit) and a master's degree from the University of Buffalo. Through 1969, he continued work on the graduate level beyond the master's degree level. Since 1961, George has been the editor of the JUCO Review, a national publication of NJCAA. Through his successful work in the NJCAA, he has been honored by a number of groups including the NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame, Who's Who in America and has an award named after him at Erie Community College.
At the far end of the table is Bernie Wagner. Bernie exemplifies what this panel is all about and ths is the marriage of college athletics to Olympic sports. Bernie is presently the national coach coordinator with the Athletics Congress, but has a background having served as the head track coach at Oregon State. He is a former head of U.S. Track and Field, which is financially backed by the NCAA.
The gentlemen directly to my left is Harvey Schiller, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. Harvey is largely responsible for the panel you see before you today. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask Harvey for a few remarks.
Thank you, Pat. It's a pleasure to be here this morning. To me, there has always been a dilemma whet one talks about lead athletes and the world of Olympic sports because in the majority of your programs, the dreams and hopes of not only your athletes, but your coaches and administrators, is to some day be chosen or be a part of the Olympic effort. By that, it could be the World University Games, the Pan American Games or the Olympic Games themselves and certainly now, the Olympics festivals that exist around the country. We're more than just a feeder system on our college campuses. I've often said that if your youngster came forwaN and said, "I think that I'd like to forget about college and spend the next 10 or 15 years going to Southert California to play volleyball and see if I could make the Olympic team," you'd grab your child by the neck ~ pull him back in the house and say, "no, you're going to college." The fact of the matter is that regardlef of whether the NCAA or any other group sponsors a championship in Olympic sports, the overwhelming majority our Olympians come out of our school and college community. That's what you're all a part of.
That needs to be measured in terms like cost control and cost containment. There is a whole range of issues before us now and I think the panelists will try to add information on these issues and to make it better for the future. I hope this will stimulate some discussion, and I know it will. The first person I want to introduce, Pat has already described his background, is Ollan Cassell of The Athletics Congress.
It's a delight for me to be here today. I see some old friends that we have been with for many years. Some of you, I have fought with. Some of you shared programs with me, but now, after all of these years being in administration of the AAU and being in that administration in track and field, it really gives me a good feeling to stand here today and talk to you about what has happened between track and field and the Olympic sports and the school college community, the NCAA and all the different conferences and how we have been able to move those organizations together. We have moved the people, the athletes, the coaches and, most of all,
we have moved the thinking of the people in this country together so that we are beginning to think about one sport, one organization and ways that all of this can fit together and work.
We had to have some very difficult discussions about the representation from the school college community within to The Athletics Congress. We have Been the bond strengthened due to a number of programs we have today. Some of them have been opposed to the philosophies of the school college community. For
instance, we have Been it grow because we were the first ones to start trust funds in track and field. We were the first ones to go to the International Federation and fight for athletes that can sign sponsorship contracts. The NCAA knew we were doing that. We had to do it for a certain number of reasons in order to keep the sport, as we saw it and as our membership saw it, on a path that would make us competitive in the world in the Olympic Games and in world championships.
At the same time, we took some of our own measures inside without any influence from the school college community or the NCAA to try to protect the athletes. For instance, athletes in track and field can leave their team, but if they still have continuing eligibility remaining, then we have made a decision not to allow them to be in the trust funds of The Athletics Congress or to be engaged in any of the advertising policies that we have. We're getting a lot of pressure on that from some of our athletes and some of our members to make some adjustments. Tom Jernstedt and his people in Kansas City are aware of that and they know what we're doing and why we have to do certain things.
We have moved into sponsorship within The Athletics Congress of championships. We have come as close as possible with the NCAA in cooperation, because we are one of the national governing bodies who sponsors national championships for the NCAA. We, The Athletics Congress, this year, sponsored the NCAA Indoor Championship in Indianapolis at the Hoosier Dome. We feel that is a great investment for TAC and for the sport and it shows the respect that we have for the schools and colleges in this country and what they're
doing for our sport. We know what you mean to our Olympic movement. We know what the coaches and the schools have to deal with. We know the financial involvement you have with our program and we appreciate it. We want to find other ways within our sports and the Olympic Committee wants to find other ways as well, to be able to bring more things to the school-college community. From time to time we want to relieve some of the financial pressures Harvey talked about. On an individual basis we will find a way to help.
I know there's a lot of money involved when renting the Hoosier Dome for the NCAA championships. Before you open the door, you have to have $60,000. The first year we weren't as successful as we would like to have been because Tom had the NCAA basketball championship to deal with a week before. We didn't get all of the people we wanted to, but we're committed and we're going forward.
There's are other ways we have explored with the NCAA offices on how we can be involved in assisting the school-college community, the individual schools and the conferences in our sport. We know there have been several schools that have dropped track and field from their program and we don't want that to happen. We
want to see if we can find ways to prevent this. We want to see schools add track and field rather than take it away. I know what it costs in the Big Ten or major conference for a track and field program and that is approximately one-half million dollars. Every time a school drops its program, we're losing at least
$500,000, loo athletes, facilities, tracks, hurdles, scholarships for athletes, transportation for teams and coaches. We all realize that if schools drop track and field, it will never come back. We want to encourage each of the schools and the conferences to continue with that sport because we're finding ways to give opportunities to assist you in keeping it.
We've met with the NCAA at least twice a year to discuss ways to help the conferences. Sometimes it's difficult for a conference or school to adjust their ways of thinking and rules. We've talked about sponsors and the difficulties with them. We understand the problems of the NCAA because we have the same problems.
We can help find ways to obtain sponsorship. There are many ways we can work with the NCAA to make a better marriage between Olympic sports and the school-college community.
Again, we want to continue to see the number one sport in the world, track and field, continue to be on every campus in the United States. Thank you.
Thank you Ollan. One of the things you have to believe about Ollan is that he is deeply sincere about the development of sport in America. That is his one goal and that's all what we are a part of, as well.
Our next speaker represents u.s. Swimming and a range of other elements. He has just returned from Des Moine where there was a USOC Executive Board meeting. I'd like to introduce Ray Essick.
Thank you, Harvey. You don't know what a pleasure it is to stand in front of athletic directors and know you haven't overspent your budget, violated any rules or over-scheduled. We have an organization in swimming called the National Swimming Foundation. It's also TNSF. We weren't going to use the T until we looked at the initials being NSF and we thought that not sufficient funds was not a good name for a found a charged with fund raising.
I've had a great opportunity throughout my sports career to work from the playgrounds in Chicago to t YMCAs in Champaigne, Illinois to high schools and clubs in collegiate coaching and the opportunity of vertj mobility through swimming. I won't claim expertise anywhere else. All of this has helped me in recognizir the important factor of cooperation between the administration of Olympic sports and the college community. look at a lot of different things that we already do together, sports research, technological, scientific ! sociological. We need to improve on those cooperative issues. We need to work more on coaches' education coaches' development to obtain more prestige in their careers in all sports. We need to make coaching a
recognized career and attract young people into that business, if we're going to help sports grow.
The cooperation and technical rules are something we see changing through the years. The gymnastics format has changed into the international format that helps us develop Olympic and international level
athletes. Track has gone into the metric ideas so that we're now thinking of 1,600 meters. Scheduling, of course, is always complex and all of us want to make sure that we take care of our own interests, but find some way that we can cooperate and not get the athletes caught in the middle. Let them aspire to do their very best and achieve whatever they want to.
To me, the two most significant topics that we have to talk about now are athletes' support and money. As Ollan says, bringing money in from the non-revenue sports to guarantee the support of programs on the college campuses. We cannot lose swimming programs, gymnastics programs or track and field programs. We must find a way to continue these programs and to continue the fine support that the college community has given to Olympic sports throughout the years. There are ways of doing this.
In our sport, for example, the amount of money brought into a campus by an event is significant, not only to the community, but in the rental of facilities to the institution. United States Swimming sanctions over 8,000 swimming meets per year. They aren't just the national championships. They aren't just the Unite States-USSR dual Meets, which will be at Emory this summer. There are 8,000 age-group meets if you're looking for some town and gown contact that can be positive from a public relations point of view. That can help you, but you can also bring revenue in with concessions, pool rentals and various other ways if you'll look towards your local swimming committee or your local Olympics sports committee.
You're all in the camp business. U.S. Swimming is in the camp business. We can lend an elevated stat to some of your camp programs by saying that this is a designated U.S. Swimming developmental camp. There a issues there that the different sports can help. So, we can make a contribution with money by running programs that are related to the national governing bodies in the Olympic sports.
Currently, the major social issue in the United States that all of us as educators must be concerned with is drug use; drug use among our young people. Recreational drug use, the peer pressure for whatever reasons to experiment with drugs, whether for alcohol, cocaine or heroine. Can we help young people solve the problems to keep them from being tempted? Can we counsel properly? On the sports playing field there j the performance enhancement drug use. There is a huge increase in steroids use. The Olympic sports are charged to monitor and punish when necessary. We must have joint efforts on drug testing, drug education a~ a strong cooperative position on substance abuse between the Olympic sports and the college community if we' going to have any chance to remove this evil from our society and this temptation from youth. As all of yot know, if you're as sold on sports as I am, this is the greatest motivator that we can possibly have.
Sports can do more in this area than any other counseling can. We have access to young people in a whole different frame of mind than we can get in any other way. I'm hoping that we can look at that. The current liberalization of athlete's support by the NCAA has been the greatest breakthrough that I've seen ar I want to commend them as well as the other college organizations for helping us support athletes. In swimming, an athlete gets support if he's of world-class or a lead-class athlete throughout the entire year. For us to have an opportunity to give that athlete support during the summer we need financial
requirements. We're looking forward to more opportunities to talk to you as to how we can give the athlete the greatest opportunity to develop his or her ability to the very best.
Thank you for listening today.
Thank you, Ray. Our next speaker is George Killian. George has been righting ror representation by the school and college community within the Olympic movement ror many years. He is an integral part or not just what we do in the U.S., but in the international community through the World University Games.
Thank you, Harvey. I would like to give an overview of all that has happened. A lot of you in this room remember the federation wars. Then along came the Amateur Sports Act in 1978 and one could say this was the first marriage between the USOC and the school college community. For here, we became involved with what everybody refers to as NGBs. I have to remind my colleagues every once in a while, that out of these wars came three organizations that were really school college oriented organizations. Those three NGBs were the basketball federation, gymnastics and wrestling. It took us a little longer to win wrestling than it did to win basketball and gymnastics. In our audience today, we have a gentlemen who was instrumental in getting the basketball federation to become a school-college, and that is Dr. Steitz from Springfield College.
Recently, I heard Senator Stevens of Alaska speak. He made a comment which I felt was very apropos to what we're doing here this morning. He said, "if you don't toot your own horn, you will never have it
tooted." We had the Steinbrenner Report better known as Overview Commission Report recently. I don't know how many of you have read the report. If you haven't read it, I suggest you get a copy and do so. In this report is an emphasis on what I consider to be a renewal of the marriage vows that the school-college community took a number of years ago, right after the Amateur Sports Act.
There's a good portion of the Overview Commission Report which relates the importance of the school- college community to the Olympic movement. You and I know that there are many sports in the Olympic movement. Right now, there are 42 national governing bodies. That's 42 different sports on the Olympic level. Those of us in the school-college community do not have 42 sports. So, it's very difficult for us to be sympathetic to the kinds of athletes that one needs to produce medals at this level.
At the USOC, we've been talking about finances. I'd like to give you one example how the college community, in particular, can really work hand-in-hand with the Olympic Committee. That is in what I call training facilities. It's estimated that the next Olympic Committee in a four-year period will cost us between 50 and 60 million dollars to operate the Olympic training centers. This, right now, is about 30 percent of the Olympic budget. In my opinion, this is ridiculous. It is absolutely a farce for us to run around the country building and getting involved in a bricks and mortar proposition for this kind of money when we have all of the collegiate institutions with all kinds of athletic facilities. There's a way to work out a program between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the school-college community, if we're really serious about enhancing the Games. We need to get the college community organized on the same wavelength as the Olympic Committee so we can get together and share what we have. The final goal would mean that the U.S. would regain its prestigious position throughout the athletic world in winning the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals which seems to be the final goal of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
We have a great opportunity and one that we've been trying to achieve for years. We want to have more meaningful relationships with the USOC than we've ever had before. Just last week, three collegiate organizations and the High School Federation met together in Kansas City. I came away from that meeting feeling better than I ever did in my 20 some years as the executive director of the NJCAA. The spirit of cooperation, the team concept between the four individuals was fantastic. I would say that you made one hell of a choice when you hired Dick Schultz as your executive director. Thank you.
Thank you, George. One of the members of our panel today is, Steve Morgan, from the NCAA staff. Steve is the liaison for the special committee looking at amateur issues which is chaired by Joe Kearney, who couldn't be here this morning. This committee, which I am a member of, is looking at a whole range of options to try and help us in the collegiate world to sustain the kind of efforts that are possible with Olympic sports, and some other things as well. Steve, you might want to make a few comments on some of the topics we've discussed ranging from helping out with NCAA championships, etc.
Thank you, Harvey. Since the January NCAA convention, a committee was appointed to review amateurism and issues. Basically, that committee's charge has been to look at current NCAA rules and see if there are changes that should or could be made to accommodate some of the programs that we've heard discussed today.
The committee has looked into this in two different ways. One, it's going to continue to study the basic philosophy of NCAA rules, which as most of you know, basicallyoperates from the tenet that student-athletes who compete in intercollegiate athletics are supposed to be representatives of the institution on whose behalf they compete. To the extent that some of the extra benefits, opportunities and
expenses that the NGB is going to provide, it should cause those students to move out or the category or typical student on campus. Should those individuals still participate in intercollegiate athletics or should that affect their eligibility? The committee is still struggling with what the basic answer is there and whal sort or recommendation should be made.
The committee has tried to look at other issues that might be treated just through adjustments and interpretations of current NCAA rules to help accommodate the elite student-athlete. The committee, as it I discussed the impact on elite student-athletes, has talked about the small numbers they represent on the various campuses. They have said, "shouldn't the primary focus be on development?" I think we're going to see some recommendations coming out of the committee trying to encourage the NGBs to cooperate with member institutions on the various subjects we've discussed today. It might help bring more people into sports generally and get people involved at the youngest level and work in the developmental area more than accommodating just the elite individuals who already accomplished something to demonstrate considerable talent.
National Governing Bodies have discussed the paying of facilities fees to allow an individual
athlete to train and coaching expenses to coaches employed to assist that athlete. This is the kind of th that would affect eligibility now, if they occur. What training expenses could be paid by the NGB without affecting a student's eligibility? At the present time, interpretations relate only to short-term type training expenses that are in conjunction with preparation for an eventual participation in a competition.
There are other things going on. In volleyball, the national teams are identified and put together three- or four-year periods. They are housed at a particular site and compete together during that time. The NCAA rules at present, wouldn't allow a student to receive living expenses to participate for that num of years and then to return to intercollegiate athletics and compete. Questions have been raised as to whether that should be accommodated differently.
You then get into tougher areas which involve a greater departure from NCAA rules such as trust funds. Ollan remarked how TAC has done a good job in keeping its athletes informed about the fact that NCAA eligibility would be lost if a student participated in a trust fund. The NCAA does not permit student-athletes to participate in trust funds. This applies to individuals who have left school and do not want to go back. Should there be some accommodations? Can there be some accommodation without compromising the basic rules of the association?
That's the sort of issues the committee will be looking at. As you can see, those are difficult il and the committee will try to make some interim recommendations, but we'll be looking at this for some t:
The committee has also tried to develop the role the NGBs and the USOC themselves can play in SupP( intercollegiate programs. In sports, where there is a minimum number of participants, can there be some accommodations to help fund these programs to keep them healthy within the NCAA and keep those sports al: This is a very quick and broad review of the very difficult issues this committee 1s finding itself confJ with.
Thank you, Steve. We'll start now with a question and answer period, but first, I want to thank all the panelists today. Bernie Wagner is sitting here on the side and I thought we'd do something a little different and ask Bernie to start out with him asking a question.
I'm wondering about the elite athlete in college returning from the Olympic Games or some other major international competition. If an athlete turns pro in basketball, baseball or football, the NCAA doesn't fe that he is somehow tainted nor is there any problem with this because you allow him to come back and compete in other sports in intercollegiate programs. A pro baseball player can come back and play football, etc. You obviously can't turn pro in football and play for your college team because it all occurs at the same time. However, what would be the problem with athletes who are in individual sports such as swimming, track and field, tennis, golf or gymnastics returning to the campuses and competing. The only difference would be that they would be in the same sport they were getting paid for, but they could come back, pay their own scholarships, and still compete with their teammates. Most of them come back to school and work out with their classmates. You then say, "No, they can't compete because they have taken some money."
I just returned from Provo where the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships were held. There were two or three Olympic champions competing in that meet. I can't really, with good conscience, say that believe they haven't picked up some money along the way. I did see one Silver Medalist who, I know, has turned down as much as $40,000 in deals because he wanted to return to school. Why should he have to give 1 $40,000 to come back when he could compete for his school and put a nest-egg away too? Is there
something wrong with an athlete excelling internationally and coming back to compete for the school?
Just a quick answer. That's rosily one of the issues that the committee on amateurism is looking at and discussing. One of the issues we've discussed on the committee is how to ensure that young people do not violate their NCAA eligibility because of decisions they make when they're 12 or 13 years of age. That's something that is very difficult for a 12-year old to understand, taking a payment which could prohibit them from psrticipating as an NCAA athlete in the future. Those again are some of the issues.
I would like to respond to Bernie's question. In 1984, I was at an event with Steve Lundquist and Rowdy Gaines, both very successful swimmers and Olympic Gold Medalists. It was in the fall after the Games and Rowdyand Steve were both retired and were doing very well with endorsements and sponsorships. I asked them at that time, if this had been one year ago and we had had very liberalized rules regarding them being able to take advantage of fame to make money, what would they have done? Both of them, without hesitation, said there was no way that they could have taken advantage of all of the sponsorships because they wouldn't have been able to train. The demands of the sponsorship were so great, they wouldn't have had a consistent
training program and perhaps would not have been able to make the Olympic team. There is a quandary for the athlete after he has international success and is approached by agents and sponsors if they want to get further fame.
A year ago, Matt Biondi had completed his collegiate eligibility and had signed with an agent. As a strategy, they refused to take on any significant projects for sponsors that would have detracted from Matt's training. Their thought was that if he didn't train effectively, he would have lost all of the opportunities that he's getting right now. Janet Evans, a local young girl, is another great example for an endorsement of collegiate swimming. I know all of you can imagine what has been waved in front of her face and what she's turned down in favor of wanting to continue to become even better. Some day I hope she will benefit materially, but right now, other than a collegiate scholarship and whatever opportunities our governing body has to assist her in expenses, she's not going to be able to make money.
I don't know how they could train, Bernie, if they're going to be satisfying their sponsors as well.
How many people in the audience that are campus administrators serve on a U.S. Olympic Committee, or
some similar organization through a national governing body? We have about three or four hands up in the room and I feel that's part of the reason we're here today. We want to improve that representation. We want as many of you as possible to add to that number in the future and help to make a better marriage. We look forward to that in the future. Thank you all for being here and thanks to all of our speakers .