NCAA Division II Breakout
Financial Aid: What are our Options?
(Wednesday, June 8 --8:30-9:30 a.m.)
Good morning. My name is Ed Sherlock, the athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in
Pennsylvania, a regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. We are in Division II. With me today is Phil Roach from Rollins College. He has extensive experience as a coach in Divisions I and III, as well as having been an athletic director in NAIA and in Division III. On my right is Margo Harbison from East Texas State University .She has been the primary women's administrator for many years. Most recently, Margo is the director of athletics and physical education at East Texas State.
Earlier the financial aid issue was referred to as a monster. Today, hopefully, we will wrestle the monster. Sometirnes you win and sometirnes you lose. I have no allusions about coming out of here with any consensus, but hopefully, we can get started and at least get people formulating opinions and getting an idea of how we can get through this maze on financial aid. When I was given this assignment, I thought there would be a thousand people in Division II that know more about this than I do and now that I've gotten into it, I'm sure that was a correct assessment.
What we need to do today is to start thinking about what our options might be relative to [mancial aid in Division II. For a little perspective on this, there is a committee comprised of Division I and II members who are studying [mancial aid.
When you're talking about financial aid, you're talking about both individual and institutional limits on [mancial aid. As of now, it seems like we're getting narrowed down to where we should be talking purely about need-based financial aid individually. I've been told, as recently as last week, by Charles Harris, the chairman of this committee, that all options are still on the table at this time. We need to be thinking about developing some principles that may affect both institutional and individual [mancial aid.
In formulating these principles, there are several things that we need to get into. One, is the options on individual aid. Several options have been considered by the committee. One, is to stay as we are. The second could be, pure need-based financial aid, the opposite end of the spectrum, as we have in Division III. The third option would be one which in scholarships, grant-in-aids, could be given for tuition and books or some combination of those with the remainder of the financial aid being given on a need-based package from your institution. The fourth option would be the reverse of that one, where scholarships could be given purely for room and board and, perhaps books and fees, or some combination, and basically, your tuition would then be based on need. This last option, apparently, has little or no support from the privates who have relatively high tuition and feel it would not keep the playing field level. So, what appears is that we're really considering two options: one, staying as we are now with financial aid with possible reconsideration of institutional levels or readjustment by sport; or, the second option would be to get into a need-based financial aid package which would be scholarships based on the tuition fees and books with the rest of it coming from the need based. This may be an over- simplification. I'm sure it is, but essentially, it looks like what we're considering at this time.
In considering this, the committee is looking at this across divisions. They're looking at it for, not only Division II, but Division I as well. It's probably not going to fly in Division I. I have come to the realization that they would like to see this fly in Division II to see how it would work. They're saying things like, "you have always said that you wanted to defme Division II. This could be it. This is your vehicle to do it." Some of the arguments by the proponents of this in Division II are that except for a sport here and there, this may be the way to go because the people that we're recruiting, basically, overall were not beating Division Is for athletes. In the city of Detroit, the athletes from that city will pick one of the Division I schools. The ones who will go to the Division IIs will go there irregardless of the financial package. Perhaps, we're paying for people that we wouldn't have to pay for. There's always the exception, but those are some of the arguments in favor of going this route with Division II. The other side of the argument is that Division Is have everything loaded up already, this will give them another way to put us down another peg and make sure that we're not competitive when it comes to recruitment.
The background on how we arrived at this point or, at least, how I feel we have arrived at this point, the Committee on Financial Aid and Amateurism, has been meeting. They met last fall and set up a sub-committee to study the financial aid issue. The motivation behind all of this is two-fold. One is cost containment and secondly, to do something about gender equity .This financial aid study is going along on a parallel track with the reorganization effort. They are, apparently, not
interfacing at this time, but at some point in time, the legislative services and the various committees are going to have to come together and come up with some viable proposal to put on the table for the convention. It's my understanding that that's not going to happen for the 1995 convention, but rather, for 1996. The committee met in September, set up a sub- committee to study the ramifications and need-based financial aid. They have come up with a protocol for study and, in fact, have selected 39 Division Is and 25 Division lIs randomly, to be surveyed for this study. In a handout that Margo gave you is a timetable for that particular survey and the progression of what's going on with that meeting. .
We had hoped to have some survey results at this time. I believe the deadline was to be May lst. As I understand it, there has been a very poor response to the survey. It has been mailed to the financial aid offices of the schools. Quite frankly, I believe that most ofus aren't sure whether our schools are included in the survey. I went to our financial aid office to find out and I've been told that they can't find it if it's there. That doesn't mean that we're not part of the survey. I would suggest that you go back to your campuses and find out, if you can, whether you're part of the survey. We need some results across divisions to find out how this is going to impact the various schools.
For the next part of our program, Phil Roach has taken his school and a public institution and has applied the survey.
The survey instrument is the last several pages of your handout. Phil is going to take your through this and show you how it impacts a private as well as a public Division II school. You may want to take this survey back and randomly apply it to some of your people. One other ramification of this need-based financial aid is that if suddenly everyone were to jump in line, get in step, and everyone were to go with need-based financial aid, the question is, who pays for the need-based aid. There's a very strong feeling on the part of the presidents, I understand, that if need-based aid were to go through and suddenly we were only giving tuition scholarships, they would have to come to the athletic departments and ask us to pick up the need-based portion of the rest of the aid because by putting all of these athletes into the equation, it would significantly reduce the aid available to the general student population. There's another piece of the puzzle which may not fit exactly.
At this time, we'll go to Phil. We do have a round table session later, so if we run out of time here, we can move over to the round table and talk further .
Thank, Ed. When we put this thing together, it was our hope to divide it up a little. My mission today is to look at where we are presently and to put a couple of models with some numbers up in front of you for discussion. None of the things that I'm going to propose are exactly what I believe in or something that I think we ought to adopt, but rather we'll put it together for discussion and then at the end, I'll show a couple of other models that we can discuss when we go into the round table session.
Before I begin this morning, I want to make a comment. I was just reminded yesterday by one of our speakers when she referred to an attorney about a Rotary meeting I attended last week. A lawyer gave a speech on coalition of housing and he told a story about one of his clients that I thought was amusing. A friend of his came in for a divorce and the lawyer took care of it for him. It was settled in February and everything seemed to be fine. But, the day before this attorney came to our meeting, his friend stopped in with a letter that his former wife had written. He shared this letter with us. It went something like, "Dear Fred, I know that everything that I did during our marriage caused you frustration and it was not good and now that we've been separated for three months, I realize that I was entirely wrong. If you would consider taking me back, I'd be the wife that you wanted me to be. I would support you in everything that you do and our marriage could be what we both want it to be. P.S. Congratulations on winning the lottery."
We're going to talk about cost containment and when we do, it means two things to us. To some of us, it means leveling the playing field. There are those of us in Division II who are pretty much entirely need-based aid or some combination thereof. When we hear cost containment, we think, alright, we're going to get those guys down near us. Then there are those who are pretty well funded and when we say cost containment, they're concerned about losing a competitive edge. They're concerned about where they are in the marketplace with some lower Division Is. But, for our purposes this morning, I hope we can focus on cost containment because that is the challenge that is before us and each of us will then have to apply it to our own situation.
At this time, there were some slides shown and Phil Roach narrated them
From the Floor:
I think the cost containment survey shows that almost 90 percent of the Division II athletic directors wanted actual levels of cost containment, some kind of legislation for cost containment. That, to me, indicates that there's interest with leveling the playing field.
It also could be a way to reduce scholarships in some areas that would be politically sensitive on your campus which I think everybody is looking for. It's federal law. Gender equity is not something that we can debate. As of April I of this year, 17 schools have lost litigation relative to gender equity .A big piece of the gender equity puzzle is the financial aid. So, we have to do something. By legislating it on a national level, that desensitizes some of the political ramifications of having to do it on your campus.
At this time, I'm going to turn it over to Margo who, hopefully, has all of the answers.
I have no answers. I would like to say that there is one sheet of paper not in your handout that you should have received. That's really what I want to speak on. It's part of the proposal that came from the gender equity committee in June 1993, which asked us, as we looked at scholarships, that we study some of the issues that they were proposing. I think that being an athletic director for both men and women, I found this to be something that I've looked at very closely to compare some
of the scholarships limits which we talked about. Will it be tuition and fees? Will it be just lower the numbers that we have? Quite frankly, I like Division II scholarship the way it is because I can say to one group on my campus, you're in a level two as far as a sport on our campus which means, that we fund you to tuition and fees. I can say to another group, because this has been mandated to me by our Athletic Council, that certain sports are level one sports and you can give anything up to a full ride to those athletes. That's what my institution has said for about IO years now, that we have level one and level two sports. If we go to a tuition and fee only, then basically, nationally we're saying that, they're putting a cap on us. I don't like being put into that comer. I think we're so different all across the United States. We have pockets ofus like Texas where football is king and it's going to be king. It may be that in your part of the country, soccer is big. It may be in another part of the country that swimming is it. In another part, ice hockey is big. As we know, it's going to be very difficult for us to address those interests of our populations and the geographical locations that we serve if we strictly go to putting that limit of no more than tuition and fees, or, as we've heard today of making that a room and board limitation.
I want to address a couple of things relative to that Gender Equity Task Force Report that came out asking us to look at that as we considered scholarship limitations. Also to say that they have asked us to write and give them our suggestions. They need more ideas to look at. It's going to effect us and I find that when I first took over as athletic director, people asked me how did you get that done? I simply said, I let our needs be known. Sometimes we seem to stay within our own little group and the people who can make a difference or help us are never told our problems. Look at the concepts that you've heard here, particularly with total quality management discussions and others, and make sure that we address on our own campuses as well as to the committees who are working for us at the national office, what our concerns really are and give them some suggestions for change.
The very first thing that they talked about is wanting us to look at reasonable numbers of athletes needed to both practice and compete in given sports. When I did that, I looked at the emerging sports to think what could we actually offer? When I saw some of the numbers, five in archery, eight in badminton, I thought there's no way that if I offer badminton, there's no way that I can give the same number of scholarships in women's sport to a badminton team that's just emerging that I'm presently able to give to my volleyball team. Eight is the limit. I had to look at that and ask myself if that's really how I'm going to achieve gender equity on my campus.
Another thing I looked at was the sensitivity to the injury rate because we've been mandated in our conference to start soccer. I began to look at the injury rate in the sport of soccer. I found that might have a great effect on, not only my athlt training staff, that's going to have an impact on the insurance rates that I have as well as the numbers of scholarships that I may need to put into that sport. It may be more costly for soccer than something else.
One of the ideas they had for us to look at was to consider the maximum fmancial aid limitations currently allowed in the given sport. I think Phil has already addressed that issue for us. Nationally, that may be something that we might wan1 look at for cost containment since so many people across the country in Division II are not already at that limit. So, that might help us with our mission statement as well as some other things.
I don't think any ofus in Division II stockpile our athletes, at least not at my institution. If you have that privilege in Division II, I really would like to talk with you. Another fact that has been interesting to me and I think it's coming to our conference is to take a step in this direction and that is, to be responsive to and reflective of the need of sponsoring institutions. As you saw, we have on the average, five to six sports in both men and women across the country. I think that you heard yesterday in Susan Bradshaw's speech about crew, that was one of the sports in the lawsuit in the University of Texas. When you start thinking about adding sports, if your conference is not behind you, and we would add crew, we could work on the facility, but I'm not sure we'd have anyone to compete against. Our athletic role at the collegiate level has been driven primarily with football and basketball. We don't have to look very far to know that that's where a great deal of interest lies. Not to say that we don't need to develop the other sports.
Another thing that's bothering me a little bit is to allow all athletes, regardless of the sport, to qualify for the same maximum amount of aid. I have a great deal of problems trying to look at scholarships on my campus and saying, how am I going to do that. Allowing all, irregardless, to work toward that maximum amount of scholarship and that really goes against what we're looking at when we talk about financial aid being everything except tuition and fees. If we were to go to a tuition and fee packet, what does that do with the need-based. They don't get anything else. That's particular comment strikes against that.
I believe that we should separate our discussions on restructuring from our discussions on scholarship. I don't want those two to be tied together. I don't know how you feel, but I don't want that to happen.
There are so many scholarships available to our students. For seven years, I served on the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee. I'll commend a few of you because there are a few of you who each year sent in nominations for that scholarship. Division I and Division III gets the largest percentage of that money and it's for postgraduate scholarship, once our athletes have finished. In Division II, we're not doing a very good job of nominating our outstanding athletes. Too many times, that $5,000 is going to Division I and Division III athletes. So, get on your campus with your institutional reps, get those forms, go to your sports information directors and get them to help you fill that out, go to the coaches, educate them on how to do that, and let's get more nominations coming in to help our athletes once they've graduated from our institutions, so that we can begin to collect more of those $5,000 scholarships. A lot of times, it's the way those things are written and our sports information directors have a lot of help when it comes to giving us statistical information.
If you haven't really looked at this packet of information on financial aid that's come to you in the mail, we've provided you with some of that today. Go home and study it and make your voice heard. To me, that's important. Go back and fmd out if your institution was involved in the survey. Ifit was, see if you can't get the financial aid office to get with it and get the information back so we can be included in part of this study.
If you have any questions or you want to continue this discussion, please write it down. Write down some things that are burning issues right now that you haven't already discussed. Ed will come up and review some of these for further discussion at the round tables. Thank you.
If you have any strong ideas or strong feelings about how this should proceed, get in touch with members of the committees. The chairman of the Committee is Charles Harris from Arizona State University; the Division II committee person is Christ Petrouleas from Wayne State in Detroit. One other thing is to stimulate some conversation for the round table is the question I anticipated would be asked, is how do we determine financial need. If we take this through and decide that we'll go with a need-based financial aid, who determines the financial need for the individuals and at what time. There's a time here where you're making an offer and you're saying we'll give you your tuition scholarship and your need, well, what is the need? Obviously, you take that to the ultimate conclusion, we end up with another clearing house. With that, I'm going to adjourn this discussion and pick it up at the round tables.