NCAA DIVISION II
SETTING THE STAGE FOR OUR FUTURE
(Monday, June 8, 11:30 a.m.- 12:15 p.m.)
We're going to try and do some things with three people which I feel are very knowledgeable in addressing the future of Division II. We're going to talk more philosophical and where we're going practically with Division n, what kinds of things we see coming on down the road and, hopefully, how we're going to get there through enhancement monies, through institutional control, conference offices, and the direction in which higher education is going in general over the next ten years. We'll get into a question and answer period at the end.
Last year, as a Division II Steering Committee, we tried to survey the membership to get some ideas of the things you felt we needed to address relative to Division II. We're moving in the right direction with federation. You've seen the things happen over the last two years with Division II taking stands as Division II institutions as to where we want to go. With our continued eligibility, 161820, we initiated that without following Division I. Division I wanted to change that continued eligibility and wanted to implement a sliding scale relative to initial eligibility. We felt, as Division II people, we dido't want to go that direction. There are certain things that come into play relative to the syndrome of advantages and disadvantages when we look at recruiting, scholarship, staffmg and all of those things. Specifically, related to recruiting I don't think those things are going to be able to be federated. They are going to be looked at as either a recruiting advantage or a recruiting disadvantage, whether there is or isn't. So we need to try to sometimes keep in perspective, it may sound very practical to be totally federated or to not be driven by Division I. But the I-AAA is a very good example. Division II is a division that put down I-AAA being in effect in the near future. We, as Division II people, did not let that happen, for whatever reason. We did that because we did not feel it would be fair to Division II football. Had we been totally federated, that would never have happened. Division I would have had I-AAA football. There are goods and bads to total federation or federation in general. We need to be realistic as to what is and what will work relative to the federated approach. We're moving in a timely fashion and we're moving on the things that we need to move on that impact Division II. Sure, some of the things require lots of paperwork, but I'm not sure that there are better solutions other than having to keep up with that paperwork if we ever were to get investigated. Very few investigations happen in Division II. It is a safety measure.
It takes a lot of paperwork to keep up with monitoring playing and practice seasons. It's not so overbearing that it's something that we can't streamline within our own institutions. I'm not saying it's necessary, but I'm not sure that it's as overbearing as we want to make it
Those are some opening comments that I wanted to make relative to where Division II is going. I've been in Division II institutions for 13 years as an athletic director. I think Division II is a clean operation. We do what college athletics are supposed to do. Our student-athletes get a great experience. The greatest disadvantage is that we don't have enough money. We'd like more money to do the things we want to do and we don't have the TV money or the revenues. The revenue distribution was a great enhancement for Division II and it's given most of our institutions a great shot in the arm. We're better than we were.
First on the program is Bob Dickeson. Bob was dIe president of dIe University of Northern Colorado from 1981 to 1991. He was dIe president who hired me. Now, he's dIe president/CEO of Noel Levitz, a higher education consulting ftrrn out of Iowa City. Bob was a member of dIe Presidents' Commission for three years and was very knowledgeable about dIe NCAA and Division II and where it's going. Bob is going to talk to us from dIe general perspective of Division II and where higher education is going in dIe future.
Following him will be Doug Echols who is the commissioner of the South Atlantic Conference that's housed in Charlotte. Doug has been in college athletics for a long time. His conference has recently made the move to Division II and has been very supportive and involved in Division II athletics the last three years.
Last on the program will be Noel Olson who's the commissioner of the North Central Conference and a member of the Division II Championships Committee. He will give us some perspective as to where the NCAA and the Championships Committee are going relative to Division II. Cappy Powell who is the staff liaison to Division II will talk about the Steering Committee and legislation representing you as Council people and she will tell us where the national office sees Division II going.
Thanks Bob, it's a pleasure to be here. As Bob indicated, I was a college president a year ago and the record is that the public approval of college presidents a year ago was 21 percent. Today, I'm not a college president and the public approval rate has jumped to 25 percent I think there's a relationship. Of course, if we were to survey all of the athletic directors on their approval of college presidents, we'd get something like 0.3 percent
In all of the recent involvement of college presidents in college athletics, whether they know what they're talking about or not, has really created some interesting dynamics. Many of you know, both the work of the Presidents' Commission and on your campuses, this has been a significant issue for us. Presidents have gotten involved recently in intercollegiate athletics and it has strained some of those relationships. We need to have some candid discussion about this. The fact of the matter, of course, is that all of us, no matter what our roles on campus are, is the challenge to struggle to fmd new ways to respond to the criticism that we're getting from the public and from the press to keep ahead of the changes that are occurring, whether they're coming from within or from external forces. We try to contain costs in an era of really tight resources and to operate some of the reforms that shape our thinking about what's best for our student-athletes.
The title of our talk is, "What's Next For Our Future", as far as Division II is concerned. I have to say that I think it's impossible to talk about the future, whether it's Division II or intercollegiate athletics generally, without talking about the future of higher education. As somebody who's been a practitioner now for 30 years in higher education at several levels, it seems to me that we need to understand the context within which we're operating and which are some of the forces that are shaping these things that we have to wrestle with as they get translated into legislation and translated into our institutional practices.
As I look across the landscape, I see 10 trends going on in higher education and are likely to continue. About one-half dozen relate directly to intercollegiate athletics and to Division II operations. What are those 10? The iron law of demographics, the need for different support, the global mentality, the new student learning, the growth of
partnerships, the emphasis on expectations, the new uses for technology, the emphasis on customer service, the battle for quality people and the leadership patterns. Let me just hit six of those I think relate to what we're about as we look down the road.
First of all, the iron law of demographics is an iron law because there's nothing we can do about it. There's no legislation that can create or diminish the number of people coming through the pipeline. As we take a look at
the demographics, at the growth of population groups, at the changes that are occurring in our demographics, we know that in the next few years, we are going to be seeing fewer and fewer of what we call eligible athletes coming
through the pipeline in the traditional sense. They're simply not going to be there in the same numbers. You look at the demographics on a state-by-state basis, by region or by nation, and we know that to produce an eligible athlete coming out of the high school who meets Prop 48 and all of the amendments that are occurring is simply not going
to be as easy as it used to be. This intensifies the competition that we have with each other and with Divisions I and III and NAJA, etc., to be able to attract and retain these particular students.
There are other changes. One was made in the earlier session about the growing number of transfer students. We've got to come up with some new strategies that help us in the transfer issue particularly as it relates to the academics and what the students bring in athletically and academically. The growth of adult students, are we
thinking through what that might mean to us in terms of our programs and what we're doing in addition to our traditional programs? Have we investigated some possibilities there? It's an iron law of demographics. The best
way to state it is, you may be creative, you may be talented, you may have lots of controlling power, but you cannot create eligible 18-year olds, no matter what you do. We have to be responsive to some of those changes.
The second is the need for different support. Here, athletic directors have been well ahead of the game. In the last issue of the NCM News, an athletic director wrote about his view of the future and he said one of the things he wanted was to see athletics treated like more departments on campus, that is more share of the budget, etc. I think the truth is 180 degrees in the other direction. The truth of the matter is that more and more departments on campus are going to be treated like athletics. You are the entrepreneurs. You are the people who have to get by with
scarce resources. You have to go and generate some revenue. You've got to be able to develop cost- effective ways to get things accomplished. Some interesting things are happening on campus that are going to presage that you're the kind of model that other departments are going to be following because you can, indeed, instigate other levels of support for your programs than that which comes from your traditional resources. More about that in a minute.
Next is the issue of the new student learning. We're concerned at our fIrm, and I know you're concerned about the changes that are happening and the way students learn. The students coming to us have come through some very different kinds of learning experiences than we've seen traditionally. We've got to be able to adjust academically to what that's all about The irony is, that more and more, when you read the literature about how education is taking place, is the concept of coaching as the critical factor. Teachers are asked not to be coach-like, to be able to help
on an individual basis with his or her individual talents instead of a shotgun approach. You know if you're coaching any sport, you cannot treat all of your athletes alike because they're not alike. They're very different in their skills sense. They're very different in the positions they'll be playing. They're very different in their goals and what they bring to the table. Coaches have known this from the beginning. All of a sudden, we're beginning to discover over on the academic side of the house, that's the way students should be treated as well. We have a consultant at UCLA who works with us on a variety of programs for athletes and the one consistent message that he's sending is that we need to take the kinds of skills that coaches and you represent and transport that over to the other side of the house. The faculty should understand that's the sort of behavior they need to be doing in their programs. I'd like you to
think about ways in which your coaching staff can be models for the way the academic program ought to be operated.
Next is the emphasis on expectations. This is one of the things that really hits us on the legislative issues. The expectations are that higher education is the answer to all of our problems. It's why we attract students from all over the world to American higher education. It is a world-class system in a country where we're not world-class in many areas, but we are in higher education. That's why we're seeing those increases and because it's so important, that's why we're seeing this intervention on the part of Congress, on the part of the cOurts, on the part of the state legislatures. Look at the state legislatures that are trying to muck up the whole situation with respect to legislation. It's not going to get any better. It's going to get worse because we're important, because the expectations are high and because there's all of this increased scrutiny that's coming down. That's why the presidents are getting involved and whether that means that's the right response, I'm not here to argue. But, I'm here to say that that is certain that we have and it's one we need to be aware of. Those rising expectations mean that we have to be thinking ahead of the game and responding to what some of them are. Certainly, the clearest one is an emphasis on outcomes. You're used to dealing with outcomes. You're used to dealing with win/loss records as an outcome. You're used to dealing with the bottom line whether you made the budget or you didn't. I think we need to shift our thinking, also, to the outcomes that occur educationally, the graduation rates and the quality of the education experience in total, including athletics, that we're able to provide our young people who come through our programs. We know this happens. We have personal evidence of it. We have all kinds of examples. But we've got to do a better job of marketing that so that people begin to understand the positive dimensions of intercollegiate athletics, particularly at the Division II level.
Next, the new uses for technology. There are now available software programs that help with both the
recruiting side of the house and the retention side of the house. It's clear that many of these things help us with the paperwork, the red tape, etc., that are being imposed and we ought to be thinking about the idea of working hard is O.K., but the idea of working smart is better.
Finally, is what I call the shift in leadership patterns. Athletic directors serve as a model for the rest of the campus. I would predict that the good presidents of the future are going to be looking to the good athletic directors
in the future as models for their directors and for their deans as being more of an every tub on its own bottom budget situation, of being more entrepreneurial, of trying to fmd the leadership skills that athletic directors typically have had to learn from this and other kinds of conferences on how to be able to stay ahead of the competition, how to be able to meet those budgets under tough circumstances and get the most out of their people. That's the wave of the future. There's no great pot of gold at the end of any rainbow that I can see in the near term. It's going to get tougher.
The resources are going to be scarce and it's going call upon people like yourselves to serve as models for the rest of the campus.
The future for Division II is bright to the extent that Division II continues to maintain the right balance in its values. That's what we have to sell in Division II, the appropriate balance between athletics and academics. I, too, resent the fact that we're painted with that one broad brush when you read the Knight Commission Report or other reports. I wonder how much we sit around and gripe about that What are we doing to turn that around, to become more pro-active rather than reactive? What kinds of marketing strategies can we put together as a division to help sell the notion that we have the appropriate balance, that we ought not be thrown in with some of the other institutions that abuse the rules and the athletic programs. The degree that we can become more pro-active is a degree to which we can see a brighter future for Division II.
Thank you very much Bob. I appreciate the opportunity to be here representing the South Atlantic Conference and to share a few comments with you. I'll try to be brief so that we have full time for everyone. Each of you could probably be up here making the same comments I'm going to make. It reminds me of speaking to my 13- year-old son and I felt like it was time for us to talk about sex and he needs to know about that. He said, "Sure, Dad, sit down. What is it you want to know." Each of you could be up here telling us about Division II and setting the stage for it. We'll try to cover the future as briefly as we can.
Those are my comments. I'd be happy to answer some questions later on. Let me turn it over Doug.
We're faced with a great opportunity in Division II. Our conference is new, as Bob said, in moving to Division II. We're excited about that We feel very confident that what's happening in Division n is exactly what should be happening in relationship to our institutions and we see a very bright future. The past is extremely solid. The structure is there and the attitude is right There is the right combination of things for us to make sure that we can pull on that solid foundation. Yet, there are enough things that we need to work on to continue to look at in a reform mode, to make sure that things continue to evolve the way we want, to call on us, and entice us and almost demand of us, that we reach out and grab our own destiny as a division. It's extremely important that we do that Some of the present state of, not only Division II, but the entire NCAA needs to remember that some of this is a self-inflicted wound. We have done this to ourselves. We need to keep working hard to make sure that we don't continue to let that wound stay there. We need to heal that wound and move forward.
We've tagged along in many ways with what others have done in the NCAA and we need to set our own course, as I said earlier. The opportunity is there. The challenge is there for us to do that and we must do it. Conferences must take a leadership role and playa significant role in helping Division II to that and set the stage for the future. There were comments earlier about the involvement of presidents and athletic directors in communication on the campus level. I'll speak to that in a minute.
There are three unique parts of this puzzle, fIrst of all, is the institutional level; the second part has to do with the conference structure; the third part has to do with how all of that fits in with what's going on in the NCAA. At the institutional level, we've got to make certain that we get grass roots involvement. Many times legislation is
passed and it doesn't have grass roots involvement We need to go back to that concept and it has to begin at our individual institutions; their opinions asked and all of that interwoven into what moves along in the system. Additionally, it's got to be incumbent upon us that when institutional decisions are made, they're made collectively by the president, the athletic director and the faculty athletic representative. Those three individuals have responsibility to make sure that the institutional position is being promoted by that institution. It reflects the collective thinking of those three persons as they represent and conduct their responsibilities at the institutional level. Not only will that help support what happens later on, but it also provides that philosophical base so that the institution is conducting its intercollegiate athletics program on a real solid foundation.
Dr. O'Brien mentioned this morning in his opening comments about how the mid-90s might become a time of communication at the institutional level. If we're waiting for the mid-90s for that to happen, we're a bit late. We need to get about doing that I would encourage each of us to see that that is happening on our institutional levels so these positions that are coming out of institutions truly reflect the collective thinking, as I mentioned. What that does, is institutional positions are then promoted through conference organizations. That helps to solidify the position the institution is taking. The conferences, I believe, have got to help institutions coordinate the various thinking on all of these issues. The conferences can then become a strong support for the collective thinking of a group of institutions, then help that thought to be promoted on to the NCAA legislative body as a whole, so that we make sure that when changes occur, we don't just do major surgery for the sake of surgery. We leave the good part and embrace the parts that sometimes seem elusive to us and we bring those together in, what I would call, not deregulation but combined regulation. Most of the time, we have no problem with the intent of a piece of legislation. That's the reason we've passed so many things that we now come back and say, "Whoa, I didn't want to do it that way". We like the intent It was some of what the end result was. We need to make sure as we look at change and as we look at different ways of thinking about legislation, that we don't hack away at the good intent of what much of this reform legislation was all about
We've got to address the administrative burden that we all realize. There are many other key issues, as well. Conferences can serve a unique role in helping us do that At the NCAA level, the NCAA Division II Commissioners Association was formed this year. I'm sure your commissioner is represented in that body. Our hope is that that group will be a group that can help bring national issues to the forefront and also serve as a sounding board for those kinds of things that are going to impact our various institutions. We're hopeful that that group can have a hand-holding relationship with much of what's going on in the NCAA at the Division II level.
In my mind, this is a great time for Division n. It's incumbent upon us all to do our part at the institutional level through our conferences and then, working within the framework of the NCAA in order to make sure that we keep, not only grasping out for the future, but holding on to all of those solid foundational things that I referred to earlier. I don't believe that we should hesitate this process. The time for us to get about this business is upon us. Thank you.
The "Field of Dreams" was one of my favorite movies. If you recall, Kevin Costner, in his role, made die statement, "If you build it, he will come." In his case, it was a baseball field out in die middle of nowhere. Those diat would come would be diose that wanted to see this. That was a mythology movie and it had some great
dioughts for me because I have had a lot of dreams for Division II. I'm a solid Division II person and have been for many years as an athletic director and as a conference commissioner for die North Central Conference. One of the dreams is that we would be a different entity competing with our own set of values and integrities for intercollegiate adiletics. I believe that we're working very closely for that.
I plan to talk to you today about three areas. One is the enhancement of championships that we are all so pleased with. Second is the regionalization concept, which is the one most dear to my heart because of my involvement on the basketball committee for men. Lastly is the restructuring of the regions and that would include the changes of bracket sizes in some sports.
Two years ago, I had the pleasure of serving on a committee that was an Ad Hoc Enhancement Committee. There were three Division I people on that committee. We've heard a lot about completely federating away from Division I. Certainly, in many areas, I agree with that. But we cannot completely bite the hand that feeds us because there's no question that the money that we're receiving in enhancement comes from Division I. In that meeting, the three Division II people, interestingly enough, sat across the table from the three Division I people. In that meeting was a guy I respect, by the name of Dave Gavit, who's now with the Boston Celtics. He was very much for us and he said, "We'll get you your three million dollars along with all of the other things that will be part of this package. But remember, you've got to be responsible. You can't just take and have your hand out." I've never forgotten that. It's extremely important for us to remember that we are receiving, in effect, a handout. I think it's a deserved handout as we're part of the NCAA, we deserve some of the trickle down. It really was to me an important lesson to learn. I believe we will continue to get these kinds of trickle down funds over the years even though we see, on the horizon, some problems in television money. I think it will still be there if we are responsible people.
One of the reasons we got this was to encourage more people coming into Division II. That's always been oru of my goals. We're dIe small-squeeze division. We've talked in terms of being nearer to 200. I believe we're closer to 220 now. We're closing in on much bigger figures because we have gotten some draw from dIis enhancement. Unfortunately, Division I people dIought it would bring down some of dIe "lunchers" as I call dIem, dIat don't belong in Division I and belong down widI us. I think dIat did not work very well. We only got one or two from Division I to come down with us where they belong. Maybe that will change with all of the other restrictions on it over a period of time. It was definitely to provide a better base for championships for Division II. That would be another point and to provide funds for general improvements in Division II at the conference and institutional levels. I know in our conference's particular situation, it has proven to be a real enhancement because I now have an assistant commissioner, which I'm very pleased with.
This was the beginning and there's more to be seen in the future. We have to be careful of what we do. We can't ever forget that we got some other things. We got great per diem, good transportation for everybody qualified and we got a good deal in that catastrophic insurance payment too. There's a lot of things there that we tend to forget about. That's something that needs to be remembered.
I hope this is going to be a lasting thing. To me, the result§ of enhancement actually turned out to be a lot of NAJA people moving in. That's O.K. because we need some diversity and we're getting some different opinions from the NAJA people. We may not agree with everything, but I do believe that that's where most of the increased membership has come from.
Our organization is one my most important areas of concern. It took me a long time. I learned about realization from the school of hard knocks. That is, being on the Division II men's basketball committee for a number of years and chairing it my last two years. We found that the longer we stayed on that committee, the mol1 we realized we didn't know who the top 32 teams in the nation were and there was no way we could figure it out. We've started to believe that we could figure out who the best four teams were in our region. That is where it CaD1 from. What really impressed me with the men on the committee was that the longer they were on that committee, the less bias they had for their own areas. We have strong basketball allover and the women's program is starting prove the same thing.
Now that I'm on the Championship Committee, I'm starting to look at things from a broader perspective and there's a lot of differences in sports. Some regions in other sports might have fewer, some have two and some have three, etc., and the bracket sizes are all different. But each one has the same premise and that is that they need to look at things regionally. Now that only works if we have an ongoing restructuring of the regions as we find that thc power gets too heavy in certain areas. I'm going to use basketball for men as an example, but it's the same in all sports, except that it might be different regions. We have a heavy number of new conferences and schools coming in on the eastern seaboard and the southeast corner. Suddenly, we've got some regions who are going to be too strong or, at least, they'll have too many numbers. We have a hard time in certain areas, the west and the north central. We have a lot of space but not as many schools. So, we've got these problems that we're facing now and the Division I Men's Committee that's chaired by Al Matthews will be addressing them at the end of June and looking al restructuring. When I left that committee, there was one message I want to leave and that is, this has to be an ongoing restructuring and you can't just sit in your own little region and say this is my region, I'm going to stay wi~ it forever. You're going to have to be prepared for an ongoing, every year re-evaluation of regions if you want this regionalization concept to be an effective one. Then, we'll have fairness. Thank you.