Junior/Community College Breakout
College Athletics in the Year 2000/A Divisional Look at the Future
(Monday, June 19 - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
I believe it's past time that we get started. I'd like to welcome all of you to the Junior/Community College Breakout Session dealing with College Athletics in the Year 2000. We all came from a great presentation, hearing some outstanding speakers who gave us some insight and foresight which will give us a lot of things to plan on as we work toward the future. It is my privilege to moderate this session. I want to take this opportunity to thank those who accepted this invitation to be with us today. On my far left is my college president, Dr. Kerry Romesburg, who is going to approach this topic from a president's point of view. This attractive lady to the side of me is one of the student-athletes from our campus. Directly on my right is Art Becker, who is going to approach the topic from the coach's point of view. On my far right is John Stauff, who is going to approach it from the athletic director's point of view.
I think we all have some great challenges and I think we can learn from these people. Hopefully, when we're done, you can ask some questions and we can get some interaction and make this really worthwhile. For me, in a lot of ways, this can be very intimidating. I've got my president here, one of our student-athletes here and I've got my vice president here. I think they're checking on me wanting to know what I really do when I go to these things. The reason they're nervous is because they know what they do when they go to these things. We need to let them know that when we do come, we do work.
Our student-athlete is Kat Andrus and it's a pleasure for me to introduce you to her. She was an outstanding high school athlete in our community. She lettered in five different programs at one of our larger high schools. She was all-State in three of those programs and a scholar-athlete coming out of high school. Kat came to our college and is one of our few two-sport athletes. Years ago, we had quite a few, but that has been reduced lately. She has competed for us in both volleyball and softball. She served as our softball captain both years. She received the Crowd Pleaser Award for our female athlete this past year and is a member of our National Honor Society. Kat is here to approach the student-athlete's point of view on athletics in the year 2000.
Thanks Mike. Every coach I've ever had has told me that what I learn in athletics will prepare me for life. I don't care what they say, I'm still really nervous. This is a great time to be a female athlete. Thirty years ago, my mom was on the BYU women's gymnastics team. Before their meet, the coach came to them and probably presented them with uniforms. They were blue leotards. The coach told them to take them home, go buy some white felt, cut out the letters BYU and sew them onto their leotards the best they could. As you can imagine, this resulted in highly professional looking uniforms.
As the level of women's athletics has improved and opportunities for female athletes and coaches have increased, expectations have also become greater. Women's coaches are being expected to produce winning records and more and more are being fired for their failure to do so. Women's athletics are improving on the high school level as athletes compete for scholarships and the chances to play at collegiate levels. On the junior college levels, competition is greater than ever as athletes compete to excel, whether they intend to end their career after two years or to play on at a four-year school.
My dad tells me stories of when he was a college athlete 30 years ago, also. He high jumped into pits of sand and sawdust and, as a basketball player, was warned not to lift weights during the season because the coaches were afraid it would throw his shot off. Men's athletics have also reached new heights on every level. The important factor in this is the attitude that athletes should also be good students. Growing up, I was taught to do my very best in everything I tried. This, not only meant being a good athlete or student, but it meant being a good daughter and a good friend. I think this is a common attitude among a lot of athletes. Grades and test score requirements have become greater and now, with the added pressure that junior college players must complete their associate degree before they transfer onto a Division I school, more athletes are becoming more serious students. Coaches are looking for academic as well as athletic performance from their athletes. They are finding that smart people make good athletes.
Study hall was required for all incoming freshmen regardless of their past academic records. Sophomores with less than a 3.0 were also required to go. I thought it was a pain because I had good grades and I thought I could do this. This is no big deal, I don't need to learn this. I thought it was going to be a waste of time. Instead, we were only supposed to go for two hours a week, and I found that in two uninterrupted hours, I could get a lot done. It helped me adapt to the amount of studying I would have to do in college to maintain a strong GPA. It also helped me establish a schedule with school, practice, games, traveling and a desire for a little social life. I needed a schedule, especially playing two sports because I never had an off-season. The pressure of athletics pushes me to succeed.
I was very excited about softball this year as I saw our team had plenty of talent and high expectations. I set high goals for myself as well as my teammates and I looked forward to them being realized. Unfortunately, halfway through the season, I broke my wrist. Although my doctor molded my cast around a bat, which I held in my hand while he molded the cast, the rules prohibited my playing with a cast, so I sat out the rest of the season. The pressure was off and I had extra time since I didn't have to be doing as much conditioning. I still went to games and practices, but I no longer spent the extra time with batting practice, fielding and throwing. Breaking my wrist, I was suddenly presented with spare time that was totally unscheduled. One might expect that my grades would improve, my room would always be clean and I would have time to take up gourmet cooking. What happened instead really surprised me. I had less energy and motivation, I wasted time and my grades dropped. At the time, I didn't realize this was happening, but I can now see how much I've gained from the structure involvement in sports requires.
I've always been lucky to have athletic directors and coaches who were very interested in my performance in the classroom. At Utah Valley State College, they send grade checks around to our teachers two or three times a semester to check our attendance participation and, of course, our grades. They recognize the discipline we keep in the classroom carries over onto the playing field.
From an athlete's point of view, I realize that, just as most college athletes don't go on to the pros, some junior college athletes will never play at four-year schools. It's important that we come away from our junior college experience with a strong academic foundation. I figure if we're going to school, we'd better get an education.
We've seen tremendous changes in college and professional athletics in the last 30 years. Assuming that these advances continue, we can use the past as an indicator of what's to come for the future. Interest in women's athletics is growing, crowds are increasing, as is the coverage women's teams are receiving from the media. It's interesting, as an athlete, I look at my future, and I can see that women's professional team sports are getting attention. Women have long been prominent figures in a variety of individual sports. We see tennis, skiing, track, golf and skating, but now, professional teams are making an entrance. Volleyball, basketball and even baseball have already begun.
As the year 2000 approaches, I think we can anticipate continued expansion in women's programs all the way from the junior college levels to the professional levels. As the quality and popularity of women's athletics increase, so will the opportunities for female athletes, such as myself. I believe that in the not too distant future men's and women's programs will be more equal. We'll start filling more arenas. We'll start getting bigger crowds and we have a great facility being built at Utah Valley State College. I'm excited to be able to watch the women's games. It's a wonderful opportunity for everyone. This is a very exciting time to be a female athlete. Thank you.
Most of you know Art Becker just as well as I do, if not better. I know you don't recognize this person sitting next to me. I've known him for 10 years now, and this is the first time I've seen him in a coat and tie. So we know what it takes to get him out of shorts and gym shoes. Art graduated from Arizona State University in 1964 as an all-America basketball player. After that time, he went on to play in the ABA for Indiana and Denver. He then went back to Arizona State and got his master's degree. In 1974, he went to Scottsdale Community College as the head basketball coach. He coached through 1981, when he became the athletic director in 1982. He had brain trauma two years ago and went back as athletic director and basketball coach combined, so he has many perspectives to talk about today.
Thanks Mike. Some of my friends from Arizona said this is the first time they've ever seen me in a suit, sport coat or tie. I own one tie and this is it. I own one sports coat and this is it. I get it cleaned once a year whether it needs it or not. We're kind of relaxed down in the southwest. I feel, relative to this subject, I have a unique perspective. I was a participant years ago in college athletics and professional athletics. I was a coach for a number of years. Then, after that, I became an athletic administrator and did nothing but that for a number of years. Now, I do both roles. So the view that I have and where we will be in the year 2000, which is only five years away, are rather unique in the respect that I look at all sides of the picture.
To me, the coach has to be concerned with a number of issues. Obviously, there's budgeting. Obviously, there's academic performance. One of the things that was highlighted in the speeches we've heard today was the effort on the behavior, ethics, sportsmanship of athletes and coaches. These are issues that are really important. The budgeting issue is very important to the coach. Oftentimes, the coach will ask how much money he has. As an athletic director, I'll tell my basketball coach, which is me, that you have "x" number of dollars. Some of my people will say, that's great, you can spend what you want to on basketball and give the rest to other sports. It doesn't work that way. I'll give you my perspective relative to budgeting, personnel, etc., from my perspective from being at a community college.
At Scottsdale Community College, we do not have dormitories. We do not give athletic scholarships to out-of-county athletes. Our handbook restricts us to actively recruiting in-county athletes. There are certain implications in there. Some of you may be from dormitory schools which give full-ride scholarships similar to what a number of the schools in our conference do. Our conference is composed of 12 schools, six of which are scholarship schools, six of which are traditional community colleges. So, there's a conflict right there; the conflict being that we cannot go out and recruit. Some of our schools recruit internationally, if not nationally. There's a problem there from a competitive standpoint.
The budget restrictions that we have in our county are significant. The athletic budget, in general, at Scottsdale Community College has not risen in the last 10 years. If fact, we've taken hits of about 10 percent over the last few years. So, what does that mean for athletics as a coach? As a coach, I'm restricted, obviously, and we all face these problems relative to increases in cost and decreases in budget. But, it also affects our student-athletes in the respect that we have fewer dollars to spend on student-athletes. Scholarships at Scottsdale Community College are $100 per semester on a tuition base of approximately $34 per credit hour. If you do the math, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that we're giving approximately 25 percent of a semester's tuition in the form of a scholarship. If we raise any additional money, we can put it toward scholarships, but the restrictions on the coach are significant. He has to be fund raiser, budgeter and he has to watch his pennies all the way down the line through the entire year.
Academic aid is in the form of counseling advisement. I respect some of our coaches and I'll speak about this to some of the other coaches on our staffs. Part of their job is as an academic advisor which helps them in some respects. They know the NCAA rules and regulations. Then, they know the inner workings of our campus relative to advising and getting kids in classes. This is one of the major factors in the coach's lives now. We have to be academic advisors to our kids so that if they desire to go on to the next level, they are prepared academically, especially, when we read new things coming out such as the proposal that was circulated regarding the Prop 48 kid. If he graduates via Prop 48, if the proposal that I saw yesterday passes, that kid is still going to have to register year to year. It fights against the purpose of what we're doing with these kids coming to junior college to go through school and graduate and go on to a four-year school. If that passes, we would have fewer kids that they would be able to recruit at our level. It's a definite impact.
So, we have to be concerned with rules and regulations. In the future, I don't see any diminuzation of rules and regulations. I think we'll have more rules and regulations that we'll have to be concerned with on the academic side as far as what we have to keep track of as a coach. It's not going to get easier, it's going to get harder.
The thing that I was really impressed with this morning dealt with the issues of sportsmanship. The coach is where it starts. The team is a reflection of the coach. The coach is where everything starts relative to the performance, to the demeanor, to the behavior of the team. I come to this in a good perspective and I'm happy to be back into coaching. Maybe I do need a brain transplant because I'm going back into coaching at the age of 53. It's ridiculous to think that I have the energy of a 26- or 27-year-old coach. I don't. I can't get out and recruit because I don't have the energy, I have other duties and I have other problems. Maybe I see other things more importantly than I do the coaching aspect as far as getting out and recruiting. But, with the kids that we recruit, we've done about a 180 as far as the types of kids that I recruited relative to when I coached before. When you're a young coach, you want to move up the ladder. He wants to go up the coaching ladder, be an assistant at a four-year level and then he wants to go to a four-year level as a head coach. So, you're going to do things to get kids, to get players to win ball games and then, perhaps, cut corners.
As a coach now, we look first and foremost at the character of the kid. We look at the academic performance of a kid. Last year, our team grade point was about 2.95. Ten, 15 years ago, when I was coaching, we were fighting kids at semester time to retain eligibility. We didn't have to do that this year. It's a different kid. We're recruiting different kids.
The issues of taunting faced our conference. Again, we're faced with different schools in our conference and different coaches and they operate in different manners, so we are faced with the sportsmanship issue, the taunting issue. I'm not perfect. I'll get on a referee now and then. I fully believe that my kids are out there talking trash, but if they do and they're caught, it's time to deal with the situation. So, the bottom line for the coaches is that he has to have some kind of philosophic grounding that says, this is how I want to conduct my program. It's going to be important, as we go down the line, to insure that the rules of behavior are followed. It's not up to the officials to insure that my kids behave on the court, it's up to me to do that.
These are things that we deal with as coaches all of the time.
Probably one of the things that we try to do is to treat my players now as I would treat my kids. I raised two sons, one of whom played at Arizona State and is now in Germany playing professional basketball, the other one played for me for the last two years and is now at the University of Arizona playing baseball. The things that I taught them over a period of eight or 10 years -- how to deal with frustration, how to deal with officials, how to deal with kids on your team, how to deal with those issues are the things that I try to deal with now as a coach. One of the toughest things that I will have to deal with when I get out of coaching is to find someone to take my place, not that I'm a great coach or a great motivator or that I'm a great individual, but find somebody who's a part-time person because that's all I have; find someone who's willing to put the time in on how to counsel those kids on how to act, how to behave, how to deal with frustration, how to do the academic part of it as well.
The one problem we have at the community college level is getting coaches on a full-time basis. I have two coaches that are full-time and the rest are part-time. We have eight sports. Those behavioral issues, the academic issues, the issues of how the kid is going to approach schooling and the importance of schooling, are things that those part-time coaches have to go above and beyond the small stipend that we can give them. The reason they do it should be for the right reasons, not the reason that they're going to go to the university level at some point in time, but the right reason is for the love of sport. They have to love the sport. They have to have a passion for basketball, baseball, football, whatever it happens to be. You do it for the right reason. You teach the sport, you teach the ethics and you teach the behavior. If you do the right things enough, the right things will happen down the line.
Thank you for listening. I have a tendency to preach once in awhile, but not very often. It happens a little bit more than I wear my sports coat.
Next we have Kerry Romesburg who is an alumnus of Arizona State, where he received his bachelors, masters and Ph.D. After graduating, he taught in the Arizona public school system where he taught mathematics and was a soccer coach. Before coming to Utah Valley State College, he was the commissioner of higher education for the state of Alaska and he's been at our school for the past seven years. I don't know how many of you could have gone to your presidents and said I need you to come to Las Vegas and speak on a panel to a group of about 35 or 40 people and have him just look at his calendar, see that the date was open, and say, "yes," he'd be there. That's the way he responded. He's a great person to work for and I'm just glad he works for me. That didn't come off just right.
He attends 90 percent of our athletic events on campus. The only time he doesn't attend is when he has other engagements he can't get out of. He doesn't hesitate to go into the locker room and congratulate teams on certain occasions. He's just a great man and I'm very happy that he has given his time to be with us today and give us the president's perspective to athletics.
Thanks Mike. I'm really pleased to be here. I've got a different perspective than we've been hearing this morning and it's, obviously, from the point of view from where I stand and where I sit. That is, I spend a great deal of my time defending athletics, defending the budgets, the athletes, the coaches, defending why we're trying to get new facilities and on and on and on. I don't think that's going to change. When we look forward to the year 2000, only five years away, we're not going to see a great deal of changes. As someone said this morning, it's so close, it's going to look pretty much like it does today. Beyond that, I think we're going to see some increasing change from now forward. It's been coming.
The two-year colleges are going to come increasingly under the same kind of inspection and scrutiny that the NCAA has been giving Division I. If I were going to look at trends, I'd say increased scrutiny is one trend we're going to have. We're going to have scrutiny from a lot of different groups, certainly, the legislature in each state. If you're funded on a state basis, if you funded on a local county basis for a two-year college, you're going to have county-elected officials and commissioners. You're going to have elected officials whether they are county, state or area and they will be increasingly involved in looking at athletic programs, not just because of the budget constraints that we're always operating with, but because that's the trend we have in our country right now. We talk about deregulation, but in some areas, we have very much increased regulation and this is one of them. I don't see that changing.
Why? Number one, there's competition for the dollars. We all know that. In a two-year setting, we have another pressure and that is a question of should we even be involved in intercollegiate athletics. We're more the egalitarian institution in higher education. Should we be more involved in more widespread participation for our athletes and for our students, but less specific focused intercollegiate athletics. In other words, should we move downward from that level to more club sports and more widespread participation.
We heard this morning about the pressures of sex equity, the pressures that we're getting under affirmative action programs which are causing institutions to curtail, to limit, sometimes eliminate programs. We're replacing them with participatory non-scholarship, non-funded, more club oriented kind of activities. I think we'll see more of that kind of pressure building. It's going to be interesting to see where that goes as well.
Increased scrutiny from the federal government in terms of the funding that we get for our athletes through all of the financial aid programs. We already have that. We can't even imagine that increasing, but I think it's going to. When we look at eligibility, let's face it folks, when a student can go to a two-year institution, after being in two-year college for a couple of years, participating, getting two years of eligibility out of the way, but being very short of graduating and wanting to play at a four-year level and having the ability athletically, to play at a four-year level, when they can come to a two-year college, hopefully, none in this room, and in one summer, get 20-25 credits and somehow become eligible, people are going to ask questions and understandably so. We bring that upon ourselves. So, this movement to make sure that if an athlete moves from a two-year college to a four-year college and wants to remain eligible, should have a two-year degree behind him, I happen to agree. I don't like the red shirt move for Prop 48 at all. That's another incredible restriction that I think would limit opportunity for students. Unfortunately, we lose that perspective at times. Yes, it could damage some of the levels of competition for the program, but think of what that does to students. So, we're going to have increased scrutiny, no question about that.
We're going to have increased scrutiny from the students. Most of us require students to pay fees to support athletics. I don't know if all of you do or not, but most of us do. Why do we do that? We do that to avoid using the state dollars or the local tax dollars to fund athletics because when you start doing that, then you not only start having problems with your elected officials, you have problems with the rest of the campus and everybody competing for those dollars, so we rely on the students. But, more and more, our students come to us much more highly sophisticated than in the past, much more demanding, much more knowledgeable, and they're wanting to know where their fees are going. They want justification for the expenditure of those dollars. Then, you end up in the same arena that you tried to avoid by dealing with fees and that is, we end up trying to defend athletics against computer labs, against libraries, against other kinds of very necessary student-oriented expenditure categories. That's difficult. I think we're going to see that increasing.
I don't want to you think that I see nothing but doom and gloom for athletics. I don't see that at all, but I see us in a much different environment. We're going to have to really be a lot cleaner than we have in the past, a lot more careful. We're going to have to document, we're going to have to make sure that our athletes are, in fact, student-athletes and progress. After all, that's what we should have been doing all along. We're going to have to make sure that we do provide equal access, which of course, is the other large factor in all of this. Equity is with us. It is not going to go away. As one of our speakers mentioned this morning, the effect of the ruling on affirmative action and the discussion in Congress isn't going to have that kind of impact. If people are waiting for that to go away, it's not going to happen. We're going to have to deal with that and we should deal with that.
Two-years colleges are an exciting place to be. We have some challenges because we're open-door, the kind of thing that Art Becker talked about. In a way, we're better suited than are the Division I schools for those difficulties. We help our students maintain that student status. It's a good area to be in and I think we're going to see increased breadth of programs in the year 2000. Hopefully, through all of that, we'll have a great deal of increased opportunity for our students. Thank you.
Our next presenter is John Stauff, who is the athletic director at Ocean County College in New Jersey. He's served his entire professional life there since 1966 as a professor of health and physical education. He is also the dean of health, physical education and athletics. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Alaska and his master's from the University of Florida. With the NJCAA, he's been the women's regional director since 1979, and he's also a member of the executive committee of NACDA and NATYCAA.
Thank you Mike, for those kind words. It's good to be back here in Las Vegas, especially here at the Sahara. I can remember when the Convention was here last in 1972. At that time, the two-year colleges were only able to be associate members and were not permitted to vote at our business meeting. Sharp James, the athletic director at Essex County College stood up and demanded to know why we were considered second-class citizens in NACDA. The very next year, all two-year college associates were full-fledged members. This year, a stand will be taken to include the two-year sector in the Directors' Cup competition and, hopefully, next year we will be included there also.
In looking at the pursuit of excellence in the year 2000 in the field of intercollegiate athletics, one must think positively and look to correct the problems that confront each of our programs presently. In order to look to the future, an attempt to predict what things will be like then, one must first look at the present and see what is going on now and look to the past to see what was done then. From these insights, one should be able to look to the future and begin to structure plans for intercollegiate programs in the next century. We must look to solve the problems we are confronted with today and also to provide the mechanism to see to it that we are not destined to repeat our past mistakes.
What will be the price we must pay to bring these problem areas back into focus? We must present a clear and sharp image of the application of fair play and hard work in obtaining our goals honestly and in a sportsmanlike manner. I look at today as another crossroads or turning point in intercollegiate athletics, a period that could prove to be a renaissance or a total disaster for the programs that we operate. Your choice.
Let us look at the future and see what it holds for us in a number of different areas. First of all, support programs. As monies get tighter and harder for our colleges to obtain, athletics can be expected to be the first area to see reduced funding. This will call for the development of an extensive fund raising plan to offset the shortfalls. We will have to generate a large portion of our funds each year from the community and for the majority of our programs, this will be a major change in policy. Colleges will use their indoor and outdoor facilities as a means of raising money by renting them to the general public when they are not being used for classes or athletic contests. New and more creative uses of these facilities will result from this need.
The concept of pay-for-play will be adapted by colleges to increase operational monies. This method is being used in many secondary schools with a great deal of success for the past few years.
Program staffing. For many years, the programs in health and physical education used their instructors for all coaching responsibilities. These days have passed. We find ourselves saddled with a situation where we are forced to hire part-time coaches at a very low salaried level. This situation is similar to the four-year colleges 35 years ago, where they ran into the same condition. We must look to establish full-time coaching lines with these coaches handling two sports or other related duties. The establishment of a separate department for athletics will develop and will become the dominant and controlling force as related to the PE programs that we have know.
As the athletic departments grow in number and sports, we must develop other administrative positions to run these activities. This will give many of our colleges the opportunity to hire women and other under-represented groups.
Purchasing. To help better utilize our funds and reduce costs, we can use the concept of collective purchasing through our athletic conferences and regions. Purchasing in large quantities should reduce cost and extend our funds. We will see greater use of college buying programs that have been established by the big sports equipment and apparel corporations. They're out there and we must use them, but we should not abuse the privilege because these companies will stop the service if they are used improperly.
Travel consorts developed to purchase airline tickets for conferences in regions is the wave of the future. The cost of travel can be reduced on these airlines by one half, or more. For many teams, this will be a major savings to your budget.
Sports programs. As I try to project the make up of the sports programs that we'll be offering our students in the year 2000, I see the athletic departments reducing the number of sports offered, increasing the number of women's sports and a movement to run some non-traditional sports, such as, indoor soccer, karate, Tae Kwon Do, team handball, and expect some of the real less than traditional sports of the extreme games. The sports that have shown low levels of participation will be dropped or forced to go to the divisions for survival; or will be so reduced, they will almost be nonexistent. These sports include track and field, cross country, swimming, field hockey and wrestling.
The concern of Title IX that started in 1972 as a result of federal legislation, established rather convincingly, the fact that our female students were not being treated fairly with the respect to sports offerings and support of established programs. This concept was resisted by many and is still being neglected or ignored by a large number of colleges. This fact has brought together a new wave of interest to these problems which is now referred to as gender equity in sports. We must do more than talk about solutions. We must take action. My cousin, Kathryn Clarenback, told me many years ago, that if you want something, you must stand up and be counted and fight for what you believe in because no one will give you anything in this world for nothing. Dr. Clarenback was the dean of women's studies at the University of Wisconsin and is well known on the national level as the founder of NOW, the National Organization of Women, and was its first president. She also was the organizer of the National Women's Political Caucus. Each of us must look at the sports we offer presently and establish new sports for our female students to bring these offerings into compliance with the existing laws and guidelines governing female competition.
A number of athletic administrators have said to me that they tried and no one was interested in coming out for the team. This approach is not acceptable and we must see to it that we field the team. When we start a new sport, we must continue to maintain and support the current offerings for women. A good faith effort will not cut it with regard to gender equity and if we persist in taking our "wait and see" attitude, the problems will only get worse. We must also attract more female coaches and administrators to these athletic programs. The course is clear. We have no choice but to make it happen.
Student-athletes. Two-year colleges have generally been looked at by the public as a notch below our four-year colleges and universities, but the truth is, our eligibility rules are much more difficult because we are on a term-by-term review for each athlete.
The future calls for creative ideas to counteract this perception by the development of a positive image for athletes that allows them to make academic progress toward a degree or transfer to a four-year college. Eligibility rules will be changed to allow more of a level playing field for all of our programs. A process of yearly eligibility will be instituted with built-in controls to prevent abuses from taking place. Once our athletes make it to the playing fields, we must reinstate the concept of fair play and sportsmanship for each athlete, coach and program that we supervise, regardless of what our athletes and coaches say.
To aid our athletes in continuing to complete and graduate from our colleges, we must establish a formal, structured academic advisement program. This program should be supervised by a member of the athletic department in cooperation with the college's advisement program. Along with this advisement program, we should establish a priority registration program for our athletes so they will have the ability to schedule around their practice sessions and scheduled games.
Facilities. The future is somewhat bleak in regard to facilities because many of us are using old facilities that need a lot of attention to service our existing usage for PE classes and athletic programs. But, for the most part, the funding for our colleges has not been adequate and many are having to function by dipping into their reserves. Each year, the capital for improvements of athletics facilities are either reduced or postponed indefinitely. I suspect that the majority of our facilities are in noncompliance and this is a sad state of affairs, to say the least. One by one, each college will be forced to renovate facilities to comply and I know each one of us will see to it that this is accomplished by the year 2000.
Athletic departments must become an integral part of our institutions' governance structure. We must establish a college-wide committee on athletics. The committee should represent a cross-section of the entire college community. Students, faculty and the administration's support of the athletic program needs to be part of this structure. Athletic issues, concerns for the establishment and disestablishment of athletic programs, policies and general feedback on athletics should be discussed and recommendations made to help run the programs for our students. This committee will give the athletic program the credibility it needs from the students, faculty and administration. Without their support, we will not exist for very long.
Our programs are, obviously, at a major crossroads. One road leads to success and support by all parties. One road leads to resistance, lack of cooperation and elimination of programs. The choice is yours. Please choose wisely because our choices collectively will be added up and this sum will determine the future of athletics as we know them today.
Thank you for your patience.