All NACDA Members
Opening Remarks and Keynote Address
(Monday, June 6 --8:30-9:00 a.m.)
Good morning. I'm John Swofford, director of athletics at the University of North Carolina and president of NACDA. It's my pleasure to open the 29th annual Convention and to welcome you here. Registration for this year's Convention has gone over 1,000, making this gathering the largest in NACDA's history. Certainly, we're very pleased about that and appreciate the response you have given this year's meeting.
In conjunction with this year's Convention, I think many of you know we've already had the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Workshop and the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) Workshop. Both were very successful. NACMA, for the third year, and NAADD, for the first time, were held in conjunction with the NACDA Convention.
First of all, as is our custom, we have a number of outstanding exhibitors with us. They are here to serve you and to benefit you and I would encourage you to spend time with them. The Exhibitor Hall is to your right through these doors. Secondly, I hope you will join me in every opportunity you have in thanking the various sponsors that we have with us this year. It's their generosity that makes it possible for us to have our evening socials and the awards luncheons that we have scheduled. So, when you see these people and are aware of them, please say thank you to them.
Lastly, I want to offer a special thanks to our fIrst vice president, Gene Smith, who's here to my left and the entire Executive Committee and the NACDA office staff for planning, what I think is a fIrst-rate Convention program. I think you'll be pleased with the pertinent and timely topics that have been included.
To start the program this year, we're extremely fortunate to have an individual as our Keynote Speaker who knows enough about the issues of intercollegiate athletics as anyone. Dick Schultz was the executive director of the NCAA from 1987 to 1994. Only the second executive director in the association's history, Dick began his affiliation with the NCAA in 1983 as a member of the Special Committee on Player Agents and as a member of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee.
He began his role in athletics at the high school level and joined the college ranks in 1960, at the University of Iowa. His career as an intercollegiate administrator spanned 30 years with stops at Iowa, Comell and the University of Virginia, prior to his appointment as head of the NCAA. Widely honored in his field, Dick, has been the recipient of numerous awards, including NACDA's Distinguished Service Award last year and, of course, he'll be honored again today at our luncheon.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you will, please welcome a friend to all ofus in college athletics, Mr. Dick Schultz.
Thank you, John, and good morning. I really appreciate the opportunity this morning to spend a few minutes with you. In thinking what I might say to you that will be helpful, I thought the best thing I could do was share some thoughts with you on some of the items that are very current and dominate in intercollegiate athletics today.
I've made this statement so many times in the last few years that it almost seems redundant. We're going through some of the greatest changes in intercollegiate athletics that we've ever had. That's the status of our industry .It is a time of change and a time of evolution. We've seen a tremendous amount of that in intercollegiate athletics since 1984. That's, basically, when it started. When the television package that the NCAA had for years was declared in violation of anti trust laws. That's really when the changes began taking place. We have to go back that far to really trace it. The change and impact that it had even though it was not felt for a few years is staring to impact us more and more each year.
Because of the financial concerns in intercollegiate athletics, we've seen some amazing things take place in the last five or six years. Conference realignment is one. Conference realignment is not over. We're going to see more musical chairs played in 1998 or 1999. Most of the current television contracts that are being negotiated today are running through the year 2000. Depending on what happens in restructuring, we're going to see some major changes continue to take place in
the late 90's and as we go into the next decade.
Conference realignment is basically taking place because of marketing, because of institutions and conferences wanting larger market shares so they can develop their television packages to generate more revenue. Most of these realignments have taken place because of football. The jury is still out as to whether or not the conference realignments as we know it today will be successful. Some of them have proved to be very good. But, because there's going to be more shuffling, that's an indication that they perhaps have not been as successful as some have thought. Bigger is not necessarily better. I hope that these changes will be positive and will end up with what you would like to see them. But, I think the jury is still out.
I had hoped that before a new round of realignment took place that, as a collegiate community, we could sit down as a group and take a look at what the future of, for example, I-A athletics should be. Take more ofa global approach. If the solution is eight major Division I-A conferences, and that seems to be the direction that it's going, that somehow people
could get together and say, if this is going to be successful long term for major college athletics, then, there should be some type of balance of power in strength of schools, in markets and in everything else we do so that you would have eight competitive, well balanced, national I-A conferences. I still hope that there's time for that to take place before the next round falls into place. That's very difficult because everybody has relationships and friendships in certain parts of the country .But, if this is all going to end up in the way that we would like to have it, I think a serious look has to be taken by I-A at balancing everything they do. You cannot have haves and have-nots. You've got to have that balance of power .
Falling right in line with conference realignment is one of the major topics of the NCAA today and one of the major topics of this Convention, and that's restructuring. Again, restructuring is being fostered because of the need in Division I-A. There are other changes that have to take place. This is something that we've talked about in the NCAA for the last year and a half to two years. It's something that's going to be very important. Ifthe NCAA is going to co-exist in years ahead,
meaningful restructuring has to take place. Everyone has to recognize the fact that meaningful restructuring must take place.
Division II and III schools Me going to have to realize that some offuis restructuring is probably going to be uncomfortable It doesn'l m,an Ihat it' going to create serious problems for II and III, but Divisions II and III bav, 10 realize that some offue school, in Division I want a different structure They want a benercon"ol over what fueir future is going to be and who is con"olling Ihe regulations fuat fuey fundamenlally operate under There are some m Division I-A who would like to go off in acomcr and co-exist entirely by fuemselve, Ifwcre not forfue Division I Men' B.,ketball Championship and people who have, at least, taken fue ability to look back and see what happened m 1984, and I'm hopeful fuat we've convinced fuem not to make fue same mistake twice I think ynu know what I'm talking about In 1984, fue rights fee for a NCAA college telecast w., an average of about $12 m;lIion Ten yeMs late" we haven't approached that as yet The reason fuat all took place i, because people fell they didn't need fu, NCAA television package if the value i, $12 million and we could do fuis nurselves We could getfuat $12 million almost every weekend Well, that $c2 million shrunk to $300,00 and $400,00 and $500,000
If the 100 top schools get frustrated because they can't control their own future and say, "Well, we've had enough. We don't need this. We're going in our own direction," they'll soon find out that those loo top schools in football are not the top lOO schools in basketball. The same precise thing will happen with the basketball contract that has been so good to everyone that happened to the football contract. The excuse will be there for the networks to say that you don't have a true national championship, therefore, the value is not $150 or $160 million a year, the value is about $20 or $30 million per year. That can't happen. In order for that not to happen, certain things are going to have to take place. Part of that will be meaningful restructuring.
It's going to be a challenging issue. It's going to create discomfort for many people during the process, but I would certainly hope that reasonable people who are intelligent, who have the best interest of their institutions and college athletics in mind, can come together in the right atmosphere and develop restructuring plans that will work for all concerned.
Tying in with restructuring and creating a fair amount of the unrest that goes with conference realignment and restructuring is gender equity and Title IX. When we established the Gender Equity Task Force in the NCAA several years ago, I was amazed at the number of people who said, "That does it. We're pulling out of the NCAA. They're going to take this gender equity business and ram it down our throats and we're not going to have any more to do with that." Gender equity is not an NCAA issue. Gender equity is federal law. It's been there since the 19705. The only reason we have a problem in 1994 is because we didn't get with it in the 19705. We dragged our feet. We ignored it. We thought if we ignore
it, it will go away and won't bother us. It's time that we get with the program and that we admit and recognize that this is federal law, that women's athletics are important and they are here to stay, and the best way to deal with it is in a positive attitude and in a positive vein.
Gender equity does not have to be the major challenge that many ofus have made it to be. It's like any other challenge that you have. If you complain about it and if you look at it and you don't dig into it, the mountain and the hill get bigger. But, once you get into it, it is solvable. You can solve that problem without dropping all of your men's programs except football and basketball to accomplish it. The only way to do that is with a positive attitude. There is an infmity group that surrounds every women's sport. There is an infinity group that surrounds every intercollegiate program no matter how large or how small. Too many times we judge interest by the number of spectators that walk into our events. The interest is there and that interest can be developed. It takes creativity and it takes work and it takes commitment.
There are only two other comments I'd like to make. We talked about one and that's television. Television is very important to major college athletics and to the NCAA. There's going to be dramatic changes in television. We're already seeing it take place. By the year 2000, there's even going to be greater changes taking place. I'm doing some television negotiations for several entities. We're saying "don't go beyond the year 2000 in any of your contracts." The reason is with the technology of digital compression, satellites and fiber optics, all of these things that are taking place are going to make a big difference on how television is marketed, where the television power resides in the next decade and while all of this may not happen in the year 2000, it should be a deciding point on what happens beyond. If you move your contracts to 2004, 2005, you might miss being on the cutting edge ofnew technologies and opportunities that exist.
Technology is available right now. The only thing left now is what the industry calls digital compression. The technology is available right now. If you watched a major football event, the software is available right now for you to sit in your living room and be the director of that television event. If you want to watch only the close ups and the quarterbacks, you can program that at home. If you want to watch the end zone, you can do that. You can be your own director with the software that is there. That's only one part of the technology that's going to take place. The fiber optics system that telephone companies have been using for a good many years has an opportunity of replacing about 90 percent of the cable. Those of you who have been around as long as I have will recall that cable was a very slow developing process. Each community owned its own cable television rights. They would bid those out to local entrepreneurs and those people would develop the cable networks in those cities as they were financially able to do so. This is why in cities like New York and Boston, there still isn't cable passed every door.
The fiber optic system will develop much faster because now you're talking about A T &T, MCI and Sprint, large corporations with lots of money and they'll be able to commit those dollars to get those fiber optic systems in place. You're going to have cable companies and telephone companies that are going to be competing with one another. Who knows, maybe the next round of bidding after the year 2000, A T&T and MCI might be major players in the television industry game.
It's important for you, as athletic administrators, to stay in tune to the technology changes that are taking place because of the value of television, not only from the standpoint of dollars, but exposure that will have for you in the future
How do we tie all of this together, the realignment, the restructuring, gender equity, the fmancial challenges and the problems that you have? It's very simple. We've got to do a better job of marketing college athletics. You might say that you've been marketing college athletics for a long time. That's true. But, there's more to marketing than just selling corporate sponsorships and getting your teams on television. There's some exciting new opportunities that exist out there, not only for athletic departments, but for universities. We've been doing some interesting things with what we call integrating marketing for universities in general. It's amazing that if universities are willing to make a commitment to do a better job ofmarketing, depending upon the size of those universities, there's anywhere from one to three million dollars a year in new revenue available to those universities. It has to be a marketing commitment because, for years, universities were used to giving away the store. They give things away that have value without realizing it. You, as athletic administrators, have to be sure that you regain control and leadership in your programs and in intercollegiate athletics nationally.
Unfortunately, too many athletic administrators have advocated their leadership responsibilities to conference commissioners and to powered coaches. In a way, you have given away the store. Think of the value and dollars in many of your institutions that are going out the window through shoe contracts, through television contracts, through radio programs. To solve your problems, you need to control that. You need to pull that back in house. That's not going to be easy. But, if
you're really going to pull this whole thing together and make it work and deal with the challenges that are out there, as athletic administrators, you have to be in charge. You have to regain control if you don't have it today. That, in itself, can be a major challenge.
It sounds like all we're talking about are challenges. There wouldn't be one of you sitting here today, if there weren't a lot of challenges in your job. That's the excitement about being involved in athletics. I don't know how many young people have come to me over the years and said they are looking for this or that and want to have a highly visible position and still have plenty oftirne to have fun and do some other things. We all have to realize that there isn't ajob in the world that anybody wants that doesn't have a lot of challenges with it. The jobs that don't have any challenges are the jobs that nobody wants. That's the exciting thing about your industry .There's always going to be challenges. You're always going to be on the cutting edge of your industry .That's exciting. You have an important job to do and the importance of that job has never been greater, but neither have the challenges.
Good luck and God bless.