NCAA Division I Breakout
Coaches and Student-Athletes in the Year 2000
(Tuesday, June 20, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.)
Good morning. I'd like to welcome you to the NCAA Division I Breakout Session which will address "Coaches and the Student-Athlete in the Year 2000." I'm Cheryl Levick, senior associate athletic director at Stanford University and I'll serve as your moderator for this session.
Yesterday, we heard many different perspectives on collegiate athletics in the year 2000. Dr. Crowley, Grant Teaff, Walter Connelly, Patty Viverito, and Reverend Jesse Jackson all addressed the challenges and concerns we face. In the following breakout session, we had three outstanding athletic directors talk about the concerns and brought it closer to home. Now, we move to the heart of our athletic program and we asked the coaches and the student-athletes how they feel and their roles in athletics in the year 2000. They might also have some reactions and some thoughts about yesterday's speakers.
I'd like to introduce our speakers to you in the order of their presentation. We'll follow with a question and answer session. Again, we are welcoming participation and interaction. First, is Dick Tomey who is the head football coach at the University of Arizona. Dick, to my right, has been the head coach since 1987 and during that time, he has won 54 more Pac-10 games than any other program in the last three years. He made his third consecutive appearance in the postseason and his fifth bowl trip in six years. In 1992, the Pac-10 and Western Regional Coach of the Year, Dick believes in treating his football team as a family. To quote a defensive back on his team, "he is a man who we respect and admire greatly. He has confidence in each of us and has taught us to believe in ourselves. This team would do anything for this man because we all know he would do anything for us."
Dick learned football from the masters. He's a native of Michigan City, Indiana. He played football and baseball at DePaul University. He was a graduate assistant under Bo Schembechler and John Paunt at Miami of Ohio. He's very active today in many sports and civic activities and is an avid skier and enjoys golf. He has two children, Rich, who is a 1994 graduate of the University of Arizona, and Angie, who is presently a sophomore at Prescott College. May I present to you Dick Tomey.
Thank you. First of all, I noticed that athletic administrators are just like student-athletes, everybody is sitting in the back. If this were our football team, I'd pause and ask you all to move up, but we won't do that. This is a significant event for me because usually I say to people that I wear a coat and tie at least three times a year, but since I've had this assignment, I'm up to four. This is exciting because I had a chance to listen to the presenters yesterday. I know this topic is something that could be very wide-ranging and I changed my mind about what I was going to say based on a couple of people I heard yesterday, particularly Jesse Jackson. I thought the remarks yesterday were all very well thought out.
Basically, the thing that meant the most to me yesterday, in listening to the remarks, was the idea of the value of competitive athletics, the value of the athletic experience as it relates to the student-athletes. Many times we miss that. I go back to listening to great professional athletes who are finished with their careers. They are leaving basketball or they're leaving football or baseball and nobody every talks about how they're going to miss the money, how they're going to miss winning games, the arenas or the fans. They talk about missing the experience in being a part of a team. They're going to miss the experience of being with the other athletes. They're going to miss the value it brings to their lives.
I think the conflict we all have, because obviously, costs are escalating, there's a perception that people do not come out and respond to teams and don't attend games in great numbers unless teams win, and yet, the most important thing is the quality and value of the experience of being an athlete. We have a job in trying to sell that to the fans, the community and to the media. The quality of this athletic experience is what it is all about because I look, as a coach being a part of that team, and that whole experience of preparing for a game and watching youngsters grow and fight through adversity and tough experiences personally. We all know how important winning is and how good it feels, but in the final analysis, we have a lot of people on our teams. I know a young man who is a medical student at the University of Arizona. He played in one football game in four years. If you were to ask him today what was the greatest experience of his college life, he would say being part of the football team. Going out to practice every day, dressing for the game, being part of that experience, was the greatest experience of his college career.
As I listened to Jesse Jackson's remarks about the value of coaches and how coaches can form people's lives and directly benefit young people in their very formative years, I think that's something I really focus on. I focus on that as a coach because I'm in coaching, not for a lot of the things that some people might expect, but to try to help young people's lives be better. The greatest satisfaction we get is having somebody come back years later and tell us that the experience they had has been something that helped them grow and develop as a person. I know it's a great conflict for us because we have to come up with the dollars to fund programs and in order to do that, you have to do well on the field. I really think if our intent is to try to help young people be better when they leave us, then winning or losing will take care of itself. The bottom line will be being better off. I believe that as we move into the next century, coaches are going to have to focus more on that. That certainly meant something to me yesterday when Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke. The value of the playing of the game is something we have to emphasize more.
The other thing I think is important is trying to enhance the life of the student-athlete, trying to make the life, the career better. One thing we're going to find is that student-athletes will have a much greater voice on what goes on in the future. They should have. In many cases, in many university situations, the student-athletes are the ones who are getting the short end of the stick. That has to be fixed and I think it will be fixed. The student-athletes and the relationship with the coaches and the people in the athletic department are some things we all have to focus on, as well, in the years to come.
In the past, that has been forgotten in some parts of the country. We're going to have to do that. The biggest cry I hear from our student-athletes is they want more casual time with their coaches and administrators. If you see them in the hall, take time and have a conversation with them. That's what they want. When they're in your office, that's your territory. We have to learn more about how to communicate with student-athletes to find out how they feel and what they want. As we do that, we'll get more out of the people we work with and we're going to contribute more to their lives. That's what we're all trying to do.
I take walks with student-athletes because I find when you take a walk with somebody, they tend to open up more. When you're sitting in an office with somebody, silence is really ugly if you sit there and look at one another and don't say anything. When you're walking on the campus, you're communicating with one another on another level. As you try to find out how the athlete feels and what they want, you try to give them a sincere feeling that you're interested in them as a person. That's all something we're all going to have to do a better job of because our student-athletes want that involvement. As good a job as we try to do, we still don't do a good enough job. We've still got too many student-athletes that don't feel they're somebody you can talk to.
There's too many coaches with unlisted telephone numbers. I've never had an unlisted telephone number as long as I've coached. Young people need to get you on the weekends, late at night and at tough times. There's too many people who are inaccessible to the athletes. We have to become more and more accessible to the athletes and willing to talk on the terms they dictate.
One of the greatest inequities in sports and something that has to be fixed is the financial aid. It's very unfair the way it's administered now by the NCAA in Division I schools. The kids that need it desperately, don't get enough. We've got some that really don't need anything and they get too much. We all have too many athletes who cannot live like a normal student. We have too many athletes with extreme needs. We had an athlete who had three children who was receiving the same scholarship, the same Pell Grant. We have athletes who have to send their scholarship check, or half of it, home because of their family situation. We have to do something to give those young people a chance to have the same lives as an athlete who comes from a more well to do family.
I also believe that cost cutting is something we're all very concerned about. The principal focus of my presentation today is on the value of athletics, how we need to try to get it across to people that athletics and the experience of being part of a team is the thing. Society is so winning oriented, that it's going to be a very difficult sell. I believe those in athletics understand that is the case. The value of athletics, communicating with the student-athletes, finding out and enhancing the life of the student-athlete are things we have to focus on. We need to give the athletes a better chance to succeed once they get out into society.
We're going to have to be prepared to downsize. There's too many people in that room. Everybody has too many administrators and may have too many coaches. The reason there's so many of us is that nobody trusts anybody. We're going to have to learn to trust each other within our departments, male and female, sport to sport. If that happens, we'll have a better chance to downsize and the focus can be on the student-athlete and not on the business of athletics.
Those are my principal remarks and they are what makes most sense to me. Thank you.
Our second speaker is Anne Wicks. Two days ago, Anne graduated from Stanford University with a degree in American studies. She spent much of her time on the volleyball court of Stanford as an outstanding 6'2" middle blocker. As chair of our Captain's Council and as captain of the Cardinal volleyball team, Anne led her team to win the NCAA Division I volleyball title in 1992 and 1994. A four-time varsity letter winner, Anne's record of block, digs, aces and kills made her a very intimidating force against any opponent. A native of Minnesota, Anne will begin her graduate work at Stanford to obtain her master's degree in education. I present to you Anne Wicks.
I'm going to ask your indulgence on a couple of things. First of all, I just spilled water all over my notes. Cheryl asked me to come by yesterday and listen to the speakers and respond to what I heard. My topics will be a little scattered. Cheryl asked me to come here because she knew I would give my opinion because I do that a lot. I'm going to shoot straight from the hip.
I consider myself very much a purest of athletics. The thing that frustrates me the most is seeing all the external things that are becoming involved in athletics today, with so many logistical things, the NCAA rules, the money aspects. To be perfectly honest, you get kids who come when they are 17 or 18 years old, what they want to do in college is train hard, play hard and win. They really don't want to deal with a lot of other things. We're losing focus as we're progressing and that frightens me a little bit.
Yesterday, someone talked about coaches as role models. That's important. When you leave home, you're away from your parents, you're away from people who previously put restrictions on you. We don't want restrictions, but we want someone to discipline us and to lead us along the right path. Coaches are integral in that progress. You should expect that of your coaches. You should demand that of your coaches. At Stanford, we have excellent coaches who live up to that, but I don't think that's by accident. I think that's been a philosophy of the department and I encourage all of you to strongly consider that when you're developing your programs or in speaking with your coaches.
The pay-for-play came up yesterday and I have some strong feelings about that. I don't think that athletes sit around and discuss how great that would be in a very serious tone. They kind of joke about it. What is really important about that is getting a stipend for expenses, for phone bills, laundry or anything like that. There are some people who have a hard time. You get your grant-in-aid, and it covers certain things, but there are a lot of things left. With the restrictions on being able to work during the year, it is putting a lot of pressure on some students' financial resources. I would strongly encourage you to consider that when restructuring the needy student fund.
Lowering standards for admission in terms of the SAT scores or your GPA was also brought up yesterday. I'm a little torn about that. They're talking about equalizing the playing field, but you also have to consider, are you putting unprepared students at a serious disadvantage if they are not prepared. If you're going to lower the standards, it's important that you extend the amount of time they can stay in college. You cannot do one without the other because you're not giving those kids a chance unless you have amazing academic resources or unless you are prepared to do that. I'm not sure a lot of schools are. It's like putting a Band-Aid on a social ill that might not be the right cure. It goes a lot deeper than lowering the standards to get them into school. You need to be prepared. It's not just lowering the standards that will solve this problem, only if they extend the stay of when they can be there.
There was one thing yesterday I found very offensive. I don't know if Mr. Connelly is still around, but I'd be delighted to talk with him if he is. He was speaking for gender equity and he is the lead council for the Title IX case at Brown. I come from a university that has a lot of gender equity. We have 33 varsity sports, so I was surprised to hear the kinds of things he was talking about. The thing that made me the saddest was listening to him talk about the obligation, how the horrors of fulfilling this are so taxing upon the department to fulfill these requirements. How sad. You're having these kids who want to come and play. You should respect these athletes. This isn't a trauma to try to deal with. The women athletes only compliment the men and the men compliment the women. I don't understand why we have to be protective of us. The women don't want to be an obligation to anyone any more than the men want to take on an obligation. I was surprised to hear his tone of approach to that. I want to come to your school, train hard and study hard and win for you. That's it. There is nothing in there about not having opportunities. I don't believe that exists.
He took an interesting twist on some statistics. I took a class on this and I'm glad I did because it taught me something about taking for granted what people tell you without really thinking about it. He was quoting some statistics that were talking about high school girls dropping out of athletics and how the numbers were declining. To be perfectly honest, I don't know a lot about gender equity being equal statistically and the participants on each side. When he quoted that statistic about high school girls leaving sports, I thought it's not because of some biological gender-based reason that they don't like sports anymore. It's kind of what he inferred. He didn't come out and say it and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It's because they don't have very good facilities, bad coaches, no equipment. Those are more of the reasons why girls are dropping out of sports. That's something you need to be careful about when you're designing Title IX programs. I strongly agree with him on the fact that you should sit down and make a plan, involve the coaches, and listen to your athletes and coaches. It doesn't need to be a competition. I know that because I'm at a school where it's not a competition. It's not even an issue.
Departments that are separate in their men and women are doing their athletes and their coaches a disservice. At Stanford, because the athletes are combined, the men learn from the women and respect them. The women learn from the men and respect them. It's very much a combined group and a family. That informal atmosphere does wonders. We also have an interesting twist on things because of our football team and our men's basketball team. Traditionally, the biggest, most publicized teams don't do as well as the other teams on campus. It puts an interesting twist on the dynamics of the athletic department. Stanford should be commended on keeping things equal and in perspective. I know because it's been done, it can be done. I also know because my grandfather is a longtime coach in college. He used to say, "I'd never walk across the street to watch any women play sports." Now, since he had a granddaughter who's been very active in sports, he is addicted to women's sports. He follows it and calls me all of the time. It's a joke in the family how he has really come full circle with this. That proves to me that people who are old school, but if they're exposed to it in a way that's not competitive and it's not, this is mine and this is yours, it can work. It can be beneficial to everybody. That's important and I hope you keep this perspective.
The last thing I'd like to touch on is the importance of honesty with your athletes and this is also reiterating things already said. I want to know up front what's going on. I don't want someone to tell me what they think I want to hear, or what is easiest for me to hear. You should emphasize that in all areas of your department. That's important. I urge you to give a forum where your student-athletes can have a voice. We have the Captains' Council that is a forum run by the athletes and it's for their own concerns. If you have a problem, you have somewhere to go and it gives you access to people who can change things.
Most of your student-athletes are there and want to train hard and perform as well as they can. Sometimes that means they need access to things like sports physiologists, nutritionists and people in that capacity. That isn't as available as some of the other resources and maybe isn't taken as seriously by some of the administrators. I encourage you to take that seriously. A lot of the athletes really need that. I know that after a couple of years, we got a psychologist for our team and I can't tell you the difference that made. It produced two national championships and I think that had a lot to do with it.
A nutritionist is also very important. Give your student-athletes services. Let them know that you're there to help them and to help them succeed. They want to win. They want to be there. They don't want a complicated life. They want to fulfill their potential. That's why they came to your school and they're depending on you for that. Thank you.
Thank you Anne. You did not disappoint me on your candor. I appreciate that. Our third speaker is Darren Eales. Darren is an outstanding soccer player who recently graduated from Brown University with an accumulative average of 4.0 in communications. As an outstanding forward on his team, his most recent honors included being named to first-team all-America and he was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. Not only has Darren graciously consented to speak at this session, but at Noon today, he will be the recipient of an NACDA Postgraduate Scholarship Award. Originally from England, Darren plans to attend graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I present to you Darren Eales.
Thank you Cheryl. As you mentioned, I was at Brown University, I saw a few people look at each other and say, "Oh no, here we go." To set the record straight, I'm not going to mention Title IX once in my talk today. About four years ago, I was back in England and it was a typical, rainy day. I was playing soccer and wondering what I was going to do with my life. The problem with England, I had a big decision on whether I was going to go professional. I had an offer from a team in Cambridge to go pro. Or, there was a possibility of going to university in Cambridge as well. In England, you can't do both. You've either got to take the path to professional sports or go to university. The university sports are poorly funded and the standards are not very good. I had this dilemma and got off the field covered with mud and the assistant coach from West Virginia University came up to me and asked to talk to me. He came to the house, showed me some slides of sunny West Virginia, with a huge football stadium. I thought this looked good. He talked further and I realized that I had a chance in America where I could combine both and be a student-athlete. There was an opportunity for me to play soccer at a high standard and, while at the same time, studying and getting a degree.
I've been over here for four years and I've had a wonderful time here in America. I'm certainly vindicated by the decision I made. I've seen the growth of soccer. My concern with that is the Major League Soccer Professional League which is starting in March of next year. I fear that by the year 2000, there could be the problem that the Americans will have to face the same decision I had to which is, at 18, they're going to go pro or the university. My reason for that is the standard of collegiate soccer. Up until the present moment, there's been an opportunity for American players to play at a higher level anywhere else except if they went to Europe. It was too big a risk for them to leave school. Basically, they would stay there for four years, get their degree, hang up their boots and that would be the end of their career. Now with the advent of the MLS, there is a chance for them to go professional. At the moment, the rules for soccer are too restricted. It's 20 games per year so, you're going to go for four years of your life from age 18 to age 22, which is your prime learning period, playing 80 games total. It isn't enough now that there is a higher standard to attain to be able to play in a higher league. The professional leagues will want to sign you now at 18 years old so we can train you every day and you can play every day. There will be more increasing pressure for players to get out of the collegiate system. Somehow, the NCAA has to look at their rules. At the moment, it's 20 games a season and you can't play outside with certain clubs during certain periods of the year. In the spring, you're allowed four practices, which is a joke, since that doesn't help anyone. They're going to have to look at this and find some way of being able to develop the player so they'll stay at university.
Soccer isn't really a revenue sport. It's not the worries of boosters paying money. The university is not making any money from them so, they could afford to be a bit more lenient on a sport such as soccer and let them play for clubs and let them train with a professional club in the summer. They're not getting paid for that. It's a chance for them to practice and it would help keep them in school for four years. That would help them out.
There's the money factor. They will offer them money. In that respect, it will be a good test to see what value the student-athletes put on their degree. It's easy for us to say Jerry Stackhouse shouldn't have left. He should have carried on and got his degree and then joined the NBA. He gets $40 million per year and if he gets injured, he loses that. If it's $50,000, it's a tougher decision. The key is how the student-athlete sees the value of his degree depends on how society views it.
That's what I wanted to talk about. I know Dick talked about selling athletics to the fans. We should sell the value of an education, the value of being a student-athlete to society so that people realize what you can get out of it. I could stand here all day and talk about what I learned on the soccer field in terms of team leadership and organization. You learn those factors and people have to realize that. I know at Brown University with the Ivy League, where a student-athlete is almost looked down upon because they consider them as the dumb jocks, they got in with lower SATs so they can play athletics. This is wrong. The people at Brown University are okay with someone who is a sculptor or plays the violin. That's an extracurricular activity that is beneficial.
Basically, I was looking specifically at soccer. There will be a problem in the five years to come, unless somehow, they can make the collegiate game into a breeding ground for the pro league, they're going to be in danger of losing all of their best players at 18 years old. Americans will be faced with the same decision which I was in England, which is what I don't want to see and that is a choice of either going professional or getting a degree and not being able to do both. In the year 2000, I hope something can be worked out where there will be the choice. A student should be able to look at the possibilities and say I'm going to go for four years, improve my game and if I have the chance, I can go pro and still get my degree and be proud to be a student-athlete. Thank you.
Our final speaker is Tara VanDerveer, head women's basketball coach at Stanford University. Tara has been the head coach at Stanford for the past decade and has built the program into an annual power house in women's basketball with an overall record of 251 wins and 262 loses. Tara has led her teams to four Final Four appearances in the last six years and within that span, won the national title in 1990 and 1992. Known by her peers as an outstanding teacher of basketball and an incredible recruiter and nicknamed by her team as "Tara Video VanDerveer." I'll let her explain that to you. Tara has been named District and National Coach of the Year numerous times. A Boston native, Tara grew up in upstate New York, attended Indiana University and coached for five years at the Ohio State University prior to coming to Stanford.
Last spring, Tara was selected to serve as the first ever, head coach of the U.S. National Women's Basketball Team and will serve as the head coach for the 1996 Olympic Women's Basketball Team. A great coach and a better friend, Tara VanDerveer.
Cheryl's not really telling the whole truth on why I'm here. Is there anyone from the Pac-10 office here? I made a big mistake. I scheduled my vacation during a Pac-10 coach's meeting and missed it and Cheryl went for me. She said, "you owe me one, so you'll be in Las Vegas." I'm very happy to be here.
I hope I am coaching in the year 2000. It's one of those things where coaching is extremely rewarding, but it's extremely demanding. It seems to be more demanding every year. I feel like I'm doing the same job, but it takes me two and three times longer. It was a pleasure to listen to the two student-athletes here today. This is why I do it and why I get so much pleasure out of working with the athletes. I want to share a story with you. In working with Stanford, I picked up an incoming freshman that was coming to Stanford. The very first time they come to campus, you're allowed to pick them up at the airport. I brought her into campus. If any of you have ever been to Stanford, driving through Palm Drive is a beautiful entrance into campus. Her name is Chris McMurdough. She is currently at Vanderbilt Medical School. I asked her what she was thinking about right now. Here's a freshman coming from South Carolina. She'll say, "I miss home. I'm wondering about my roommate." She looked at me and said, "Tara, I want to make a difference in this world." I almost crashed into the palm trees. This is an incoming freshman and I had no response. I said, "That's great, Chris." How can you add to something like that?
About four or five years later, she came into my office and was all excited. She told me she saved someone's life today. She was in the emergency ward at the hospital and they brought someone in. She was doing her internship and she told me they gave up on him and she brought him back. I said, "Wow, Chris, you really have made a difference." This is an example of one of the things that inspires me to work with young athletes. To not have that enthusiasm and see the excitement they bring, I could have any other job, but it's so exciting.
I learn a lot from our athletes on dealing with diversity. Another young lady, Sonya Henning, another former Stanford student, graduate from Duke Law School and is now working to pass the Bar. When things didn't go her way, I watched how she reacted. All during the season, she might get her way, then all of a sudden, she is up against a great all-American. Sonya had seven turnovers in the first half. I'd never seen Sonya have seven turnovers in an entire game. How she dealt with this diversity really impressed me and inspired me. As athletic directors, you're privy to watching this type of thing play out. I'm very fortunate, as a coach, to be inspired by this.
We seem to have so many problems in our world. It feels like athletes, in a way, can be people that can help solve some of our problems. I'm not going to go into all of our social problems, but I would like to tell you about another young lady who played basketball at Stanford. She wrote to me and told me that she was pressured by her friends to do drugs. I remember something she said about not doing drugs. Not only did she not do them, but she talked her friends into not doing them either. To me, that was very powerful. I like being a part of that. Maybe I'm a little naive or, maybe I'm just thinking of Utopia. I work at Stanford and I realize we have a lot of Stanford on this panel, but there is that going on out there.
Athletic directors should know that your coaches need coached. Don't think that the people you hire should just be put into spots and watch them. They need coached. They need you sitting down and talking to them and disciplining them and bringing them to things like this, really being people that help them and coach them. Not only that, they need clear expectations, good communications and don't be afraid to be direct with coaches. Sometimes it's very hart to coach your best players. You don't want them to get upset with you. The best thing to do is be honest and up front and communicate very well with your coaches just like we have to with our players.
They have to feel appreciated. The people that work for you will work best for you if they feel that you appreciate the work they're doing. As coaches, we need to be problem solvers. We need you to encourage us to be problem solvers. Stanford is going to get an award at the luncheon today. Being from Stanford and talking to different coaches, people have this idea that Stanford is just this place in the sunshine, it never rains and it's perfect. We all have problems, but it's how people deal with problems, whether it's communication or whatever it takes to fix things.
Coaches always go running to administrators to solve our problems. For example, as a basketball coach, I'm concerned with the restricted earning situation as far as a restricted earnings coach. I know a lot of other coaches I talk to ask how much are we going to get to pay our restricted earnings person. Maybe Cheryl or Ted has already thought of this, but as an administrator, you go back to the coach and ask how are you going to pay for this. Can you raise the money or look at your budget and see where you can save? As coaches, we're always expecting you to have all of the answers. Come back and put things back on us a little bit. Coaches, unfortunately, do not talk with each other very much. Maybe it's different at different places, but we're all in our own little world doing our own things. Not to say that we should have formal meetings, but more informal things. Our offices are sometimes just next door and I'll only talk to our men's basketball coach in the hall. That would be something I encourage. Have informal communication with your coaches to help them be problem solvers.
My job is to give our student-athletes the best chance to be successful. We're able to give your athletes the best chance for them to be successful whether it's with facilities, coaches and make the most of whom I have on my team. We really focus much too much, and too many of our resources go to recruiting. In order to be successful, you have to recruit, but there's too much emphasis and too much money to do this. We should look at ways to save on costs on that. Yes, we all need to have good student-athletes, but there's a way we can all save money on that. One suggestion I would have is that they don't have to take five visits.
As a coach, I have a favorite quote which I would like to leave with you. "Unconditional commitment is the ability to accept what you don't like without letting it spoil what you love." I know that everyone in this room loves athletics and loves the competition and working with student-athletes and with your coaches. Sometimes, we just have to get through the rough spots and deal with some of the things we don't like. Thank you for the effort and the time that you're putting into this Convention in making things better for the student-athletes that I work with. Thank you very much.
I'd like to pose a question to our student-athletes. I asked this question at our Captains' Council Meeting and it was amazing what the reaction was. I see Tom Jernstedt in the back of the room and I'm sure he'll want to take this back to the NCAA. If there was one single NCAA rule that you could change for the year 2000, what rule might that be?
That's a tough question, but I would say the 20-hour rule. I do that with a few reservations, only with the thought that the expectation that the coaches are still realistic and are still aware of school schedules. When there's time, you need to train and you have the time or ability to train, you should be allowed to. I'm also speaking in reference to the restrictions in the spring time. I know they've changed it around and you can only have a certain amount of hours with your coach and only so many people. It's starting to border on ridiculous. The athletes want to be able to train with their team and with their coaches as much as they can with the expectation that the coaches will respect their other commitments to school.
I agree with that. Spring, especially for soccer, is a silly rule in the fact that if you've got the time, you can make the choice. The coach could say, we're going to go three times a week throughout the spring. If you've got a problem with that, that's fine, since spring is the off season. But, for the players who want to play then, they should be able to. I would relax the spring containment of practices and let us practice as much as they want to.
I might ask the coaches as well, if either of them might have any strong feelings if there's one rule you think might be a good one to change or look at in the year 2000.
I would say the financial aid. As I mentioned, those that have an extreme need to have a way to live better on a college campus. That would solve a lot of problems that we all have. It's more than just laundry money. It's trips home and other things that some of these kids need who are operating with absolutely no help from home. If we don't fix it, we're going to suffer from it because there's going to be a day where there's a game some place or there's going to be a bowl game or a championship and the kids aren't going to play. It's going to make too much sense to them that they've got to get our attention on that one.
The evaluation rule concerns me. As coaches, we're sometimes making a very large commitment to a student-athlete and that we evaluate them twice concerns me. If we make a mistake, it could be very costly.
Good morning. I'm Kathy Noble and I would like to direct this to the athletes on the panel. I think it's interesting that we pass rules that we think are in your best interest. That 20-hour rule was really to protect you. How can we get student-athletes more involved in rule making process?
The best way is to ask them. That rule was probably great in theory, but in practice, it's a little bit lacking. I don't know if there was a way to avoid that prior to passing it. It's important to communicate with your student-athletes. They'll tell you what they think if you ask them and if they feel they can tell you without any horrendous consequences.
I'm Fred Mims from the University of Iowa. This question is to the student-athletes. Do you feel it would be beneficial if student-athletes had an opportunity on campus to get together as a body to talk about some of these issues? Some of your comments referring to practice in the spring, I think, refer to sports other than football or basketball. From my experience, a lot of football players don't want to extend the 20-hour rule.
I agree with you there. I know the basketball players had to put in a lot of time traveling. They are traveling to games, three games a week, studying for a degree and trying to live off $50 per week. They know they're packing the stadium and it's because of them. They read in the papers about the Final Four and the millions of dollars involved in the tournament. They sit around borrowing money to do the laundry, etc. That is a difference and I can appreciate the 20-hour rule could be in that respect, because they feel they're getting pushed into a spring season. The football teams had a hard fall and if the coaches put the pressure on them to practice every day, so I agree there is a difference between the revenue and the non-revenue sports. That's why I feel, in that respect, for soccer, you can afford to be lax on the rules because there is less pressure.
I agree that there's going to come a time when there's a big basketball game and a bowl game and the athletes will sit around and realize they are being exploited in the sense that they are making so much money for their universities and there's pressure on them. People think we're here because of our athletic ability, so we're not getting the respect from the student-body for the fact that we're putting in the time and studying. At the same time, we're not making any money on it. I agree there is a difference between revenue and non-revenue sports. If we had a body, a strong student-athlete body to talk about these things, it would help solve the problems.
I'm Bob Madden from Boise State University and I'm in athletic development. I'd like to ask the coaches about the fact that we talk about cost containment a lot and financing is something that we all know is critical in athletics today and for the future, but where are the areas that you see to save some monies? We're so specialized anymore. We've got academic people, fund raising people, sports information and all of these people are important. We always feel a strong urge to increase these staffs as we go along and we become more specialized. We have more coaches in the individual sports.
I've got some opinions on that. First of all, schools need to take all of these apparel and shoe contracts into the university. If some money goes to the coaches, divvy that up. It's ridiculous for coaches, any of us, to make the money that some coaches make in shoe contracts. Coaches make way too much money running camps at the universities. Those are a couple of areas right now, and some coaches would disagree with that, but those are dollars that the university doesn't have control over. It would give substantial dollars to the university. We all have places we can cut if push comes to shove. It becomes a matter of priorities. There are certain things that we want to preserve for our people at any cost and there are other things that we could compromise on. These are different for each institution, so I can't be specific about that.
I've always felt that you spend your own money differently than you spend someone else's money. If somehow, whether it was coaches, people thought of your budgets as your own money, it would change how you spend it. I talk on the phone differently at the office than I do at home. At home, I'll wait until after 11:00 p.m. or after 5:00 p.m. and do things that are specific. If there was an incentive to save x amount of dollars, and half would go to what I want, I would be more inclined to take it more personally how I spend money.
I know that coaches try. People don't go out and try to spend money. It has to become very personal to you. Don't feel you have to spend your budget this year or you won't get it next year. Work and sit down and figure out how to save. But, saving has to have an incentive, otherwise, people will continue with their own habits.
I'm Betty Jaynes from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and my question is for Tara and Dick. I would be interested in knowing your comments on a formal professional development for coaches.
First of all, we all have resources in our own athletic departments. We all have a staff of outstanding coaches. At Arizona, for example, we have great coaches in all sports and we interact very frequently. We still could do more because you have people in your own department that could add to your background and enhance your background and help you grow as a coach that may not experience the exact same problems that you do in your sport, but in terms of dealing with young people, which is what it's all about, I think we can help one another.
Do you mean overall, or certification? Is that what you're talking about?
There's a real concern among the basketball coaches right now, that we need to give something to our younger coaches. There's not a place to go for professional development to get them ready.
In football, we have a couple of graduate assistants. We would like to have another graduate assistant. We believe, in football, that's the way young coaches get involved. Most of us who are coaching started as graduate assistants. That's a way for somebody to start. We all realize that we've got a problem in competitive athletics at the administrative level and at the coaching level where we don't have enough minorities. African-Americans, Hispanics, etc., we don't have enough minorities representing the coaching ranks or administrative ranks and we need internships, graduate assistantships, a way people can get started. Obviously, we all hire people that are experienced and had some knowledge. Those things would all be very helpful.
We all have great resources in our own departments. We don't necessarily have to go to a clinic and fly a thousand miles, pay lodging to learn how we could help ourselves because we've got some great resources in our own departments that could help one another.
I agree in that I feel a lot of our training is internal. You have a young coach and you work with them. At Stanford, I learned a lot from the other coaches. I would welcome a lot more communication within the department. There's a need for better communication and education and sharing information within the coaching ranks. A lot of the physical education programs are being dropped. We have an attitude in our country where the college coach will say our college players aren't very fundamental. What did that high school coach do? The high school coach will say that this player isn't very fundamental. What did they teach them in the JV program? This goes on and on down the line. We're really not teaching the game as much as we teach plays. I see this when I watch the international teams play. They understand the game better. In a way, our coaches might learn a lot of systems, but don't understand teaching the game of basketball.
Are you planning, from a coach's association, something from a grassroots level that could help the administrators in this room?
We're in our second year of a task force with the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Women's Basketball Coaches trying to address all of our challenges. We're looking at professional development very hard because we would rather be a part of the development and try to take care of our own needs than to let someone else give it to us as a program and us not having input at all.
We've talked about creating modules where, at each of our conventions, you would take a series of modules that would not certify, we're scared of that word, but some form of certification that would allow an employer to know that you have been through this type of a module development. We're just talking and we need some great minds to get us through this.
Pat Wall from the Southeastern Conference and this is for Tara. In this day and age of trying to increase opportunities for women to participate, what is your feeling about walk-ons at your program or at the Division I-A level?
Well, Pat, I would encourage people to walk on the team. The problem in women's basketball right now is that when we need someone in practice, a walk-on doesn't get a lot of playing time, you can get a better male manager who would be in practice and would push the women a little harder than a walk-on. If the walk-on was good enough, she would probably be on scholarship. We do have some walk-ons. We have had walk-ons on our teams and we've had them earn scholarships and do very well. I definitely encourage it.
If a young woman walks on the team and isn't going to play a lot, she's not going to stay on the team unless she gets a scholarship. Her expectation is, if I'm good enough to be on the team, I'm good enough to get a scholarship. Some of them are and some of them aren't.
You didn't ask me, but I'm going to answer. Most sports are elitist with the exception of football, because they cut people. We don't cut anybody as long as they can do the work. We give them an opportunity because the value of the game and participating on a team is so great, that even if a young man has limited abilities and isn't on scholarship and he wants to be there, we want to provide him with that opportunity. That's the argument that I have against restricting that number. Although, I realize that we have great numbers. It's not a self-serving thing, in my opinion. We have a women's softball team that had 13 members on their team. They should open that up so others could experience the exhilaration of being part of that program rather than have it restricted like that. That's one place for people to grow and people sharing that experience of being part of a team is a positive thing.
Please join me in thanking the presenters today. They did a great job. They'll be around for a few minutes if you want to speak to them individually and we'll call this session to a close.