All NACDA Members
Opening Remarks and Keynote Address
(Monday, June 19 - 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.)
Good morning. I am Gene Smith, the athletic director at Iowa State University and this year's president of NACDA. It's my pleasure to formally open NACDA's 30th annual Convention. Each year, the role that NACDA has played in the field in intercollegiate athletics has continually grown. This is evidenced by the number of athletics administrators who attend our annual Convention, workshops, forums and Management Institute.
This has been another fine year for NACDA as over 1,000 athletic administrators have registered for our Convention. This past weekend, we hosted the NACMA fourth annual Workshop and the second NAADD annual Workshop. They had an outstanding attendance in both areas. For those of you who oversee marketing and athletic development at your institutions, I encourage you to have your employees be a part of NAADD and NACMA. They're great organizations. They provide an opportunity for our young professionals to come together and share ideas and thoughts so they can come back to our respective campuses and implement the ideas that they may have received from other institutions. I congratulate the Executive Committee of NAADD and the Executive Committee of NACMA for doing such a fine job this past weekend.
As in the past, many other groups will join us at this year's Convention. A complete list is available in your Convention program and I encourage you to please look at those. I would also like to welcome those groups to our Convention this year. We have a number of informative sessions that are also listed in your Convention program for all levels of athletics administration. We have general sessions that include breakout areas and round tables throughout our Convention.
We're pleased to have an outstanding number of exhibitors who help us significantly with financing this Convention. I encourage all of you to spend time, some quality time, going through the exhibits in Grand Ballroom #1 and #2. The drawing for the grand prize will be held on Wednesday. After the 7:30 a.m. session, the booth will be selected from which the winning business card will be drawn. The winner will be chosen from the exhibitor's box at the Business Session from 11:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The grand prize this year is a trip for two to Munich, Germany, which includes four nights accommodations, round trip airfare and sightseeing compliments of International Sport, Inc., Booth 100. I call your attention to the green flyer on your tables. For those of you who haven't been to Germany, this is your chance. Get involved.
I'd like to thank you sponsors for sponsoring our fine social programs and our receptions. I also would like to thank Jim Copeland, our First Vice President. He is responsible for putting this Convention together along with the help of the Executive Committee, the Officers and the NACDA staff. They've done an outstanding job of putting this Convention together. As you go through your program, I think you will see that we have some outstanding sessions and workshops scheduled for this week.
Before I introduce our Keynote Speaker, I would like to tell you that I'm honored to have had the opportunity to serve as your president this year. It was a great opportunity for me to grow personally and to grow professionally. I appreciate that chance. I want to encourage all of those young administrators who are trying to break into this field to become involved the different organizations that fall under the umbrella of NAADD, NACMA and of NACDA. Do everything that you can to get to know your colleagues and develop and share some of the ideas that they implement at their institutions so that you, hopefully, one day can be a part of the leadership's organizational structure.
At this time, I would like to introduce to you, Mr. Joe Crowley, who all of us know. He is the president of the University of Nevada-Reno. A member of the faculty since 1966, Joe has served as president of the institution for the last 17 years. He earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Iowa in 1959, his M.A. in social science from Fresno State in 1963, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington in 1967. He is a professor in the university's Department of Political Science and has served as chair of that department and the university's Faculty Senate.
Crowley has served on many campus, community and professional organizations, including the NCAA Council and the NCAA Presidents' Commission. He recently completed a two-year term as president of the NCAA. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you, Joe Crowley.
Thank you, Gene, both for that introduction and for the opportunity to be here this morning and speak to the delegates to this Convention. I bid you welcome, as a resident of this state, to my state. Even though my part of it is 450 miles north of here, we're happy to have you here in Nevada. I would like to extend greetings to you as well, from Carol Harter, who is the incoming president of UNLV. Literally incoming, she is on her way as I speak this morning, from New York to Nevada, and she wanted to be remembered to you. I should bid you welcome, as well, from Charlie Cavagnaro, a good friend and colleague, who not yet, but soon, will be the athletic director at UNLV. He is in the audience this morning. I wish Charlie well.
I bring you greetings as well, from the Nevada State Legislature, which is still in session in Carson City. I had to tear myself away from that group of folks to get down here this morning. The Legislature is still meeting because of a secretarial mistake that was made at the time of the 1864 Constitutional Convention prior to the time that Nevada became a state. The Constitution says that the Legislature shall meet once every two years for 60 days. The secretarial mistake was a transposition which resulted in a change in the founders' intention which was that the Legislature would meet once every 60 years for two days and that would be much better. But, alas, they took the Constitution language literally and they've been meeting almost continually it seems, ever since.
Legislature is having a very busy session this time around. The high point has been the passing of a bill that designates a stretch of rural highway in our state, the Extra Terrestrial Alien Highway. That is now the law and that is the name of that stretch of highway. It is said that you can encounter extra terrestrials. There was a lobbyist at the session who comes from that part of the country and he says that he has chatted from time to time with extra terrestrials and he, indeed, has been in their space ships and had some interesting conversations. I don't doubt it. I know for a fact that there are extra terrestrials in Nevada because I have a number of them on my faculty at the university.
Anyway, the Legislature sends you their greetings. The members are having a tough time matching the state's income with its outgo and so, the short of it is, we need more income and the members of the Legislature ask for your help in that regard. Your obligations, should you choose to accept them, would be to abandon certain precepts that you have lived with life long that have guided you in your jobs as athletic directors. Precepts like, avoid temptation and concentrate on winning. So, your obligation here would be to ignore those precepts, substituting two others in their place, succumb to temptation, all of those machines and tables out there, and concentrate on losing. It will make a big difference in my salary if you do. You can consider your loss an investment in higher education.
People I talk to are curious why someone like me would be invited to speak at a NACDA Convention. I remind them of what I told an audience in Boston earlier this spring when I was there to receive an award for what I like to think of as athletic achievement even though it was an award for providing service as a kind of athletic administrator, if you will. I think of it as an award for athletic achievement because it would be the only one that I have ever received. I told that audience that there would be a large number of people in my little home town in Iowa who would be shocked to learn that I was receiving an award for athletic performance. My career as an athlete was a checkered one. My dad was a boxer and he wanted me to be a boxer, so I became a boxer. Mohammed Ali happened to be in the audience in Boston on that occasion receiving an award for what really was athletic achievement and I wanted him to know that my nickname as a boxer was "Sting Like a Butterfly". I retired from boxing at the age of seven following a fight in the Knights of Columbus Hall. I was in the second grade and I lost to a guy in the first grade and that was the end of my career as a boxer. It pretty well set the stage for my athletic performance to come. When I was in high school and played football, the coach didn't quite know where there was a position that was suited well to my peculiar talents. He made me a blocking back in the old single wing formation. After a couple of games the coach decided to change the title of that position in order to adapt it better to my talents, so I became the non-blocking back in that single wing formation.
I then played basketball and I was the center because in those days, if you were six feet tall, as I was then, the coach looked at you and said, "you're the center until you prove otherwise." So, I proved otherwise and discovered eventually that I had no athletic talent at all, but achieved, at the same time, the recognition that the absence of athletic talent qualified me for another career in a related field. I became a sports writer and I did that for awhile. I wasn't smart enough for that either, so I became a college president. That's pretty much the story of my life.
People ask how I became president of the NCAA and I tell them that I followed the advice of Calvin, not John Calvin, the religious advisor, but Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs, that wonderful comic strip. Calvin said the way to be successful is to be at the right place at the right time and since you never know when the right time will arrive, the trick is to get to the right place and just hang around for awhile. That is pretty much what I did at the NCAA. I hung around at the Council and at the Presidents' Commission and as a member of a number of committees and the chair of a couple of them. I got to be on the Administrative Committee and the Executive Committee and the Joint Policy Board and served as an officer of the association. That's pretty much how I found my way to talking to you here this morning.
I'd like to share some brief thoughts growing out of that experience of nearly a decade in the NCAA. I want to say a few words of where we have been in that decade. As I see it, the large scale changes that have occurred in intercollegiate athletics during that period of time, changes that athletic administrators have had to wrestle with, have had to manage, to make a valiant effort to get to the other side of what, I think, has been a watershed era in athletics, only to discover once they got there, there was no other side because that watershed era was continuing major challenges for athletic administrators and all the rest of us who are involved in the years to come.
If you think of where we've been these last 10 years, of what has been accomplished, of what we have experienced, most of us would not have seen it coming when the decade of the 1970s turned the corner into the 1980s. Just to briefly run through that roster - academic reform, the continuing and passionate debates that we have had about that subject, but we have made substantial progress in that area in the last 10 years; cost reduction, perhaps less progress, certainly almost equally passionate debate. It's a somewhat smaller reward, but still, progress has been consequential. Reduction in playing and practice time, again, a controversial subject and some would argue there has been no progress in that regard. I think there has been. We've come now to publish our graduation rates and our majors and that has had a positive effect on our programs. We have developed over this period of time significant academic support systems for our student-athletes, another major accomplishment. The certification program, initiated and now implemented during this past year. Some hope it will go away. I don't think it will. Just this year, my institution went through the experience of certification, the self-study, the peer review, etc., and while it was sometimes painful, it was nevertheless, a very good experience for the institution.
We have had challenges of diversity during the course of the last decade. The challenges of gender equity are being faced by the Gender Equity Task Force in doing it's very difficult work. The emergence in the NCAA of the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee as a major player in the work of the association. The organizational change that we have known within the NCAA is a quiet process, but nevertheless, very important. We have done some very important restructuring during these years. Some historians may even see it as a revolution of sorts, because one of the things that it brought to pass, was that presidents have come to exercise dramatically increased influence at the association level and I believe at the institutional level as well in intercollegiate athletics.
All of these changes and others, if we looked at them collectively, have given college athletics a very welcome new look. They have brought athletics off the peripheral campus life and moved programs toward the center of that life. They have integrated athletics much more meaningfully into the life of the campus. The NCAA itself has become, at last, truly a higher education association, which is what it needs to be, which is where it needs to make its mark. This is really the unspoken objective of all of the changes that we have undergone these last 10 years, the place we've needed to get to. We've discovered that we have gotten part way there and this too, is a work in progress and there is much more watershed, many large challenges still to face. Let me just run through a few of those for you. These are things that are not news to you, but are things that will be making news in the years ahead. For example, the very difficult and delicate business of relating to a new set of expectations with respect to how we deal with student-athletes. Indeed, the expectation of society has changed markedly with regard to how institutions relate to students generally. That has an impact, obviously, on student-athletes. A quarter of a century ago, the courts of this country tossed out that old principle of in loco parentis, whereby institutions acted in the place of parents toward students who came to spend time with them. The courts threw that out. Since that time, we have become more and more involved as parents than we ever were before. That is notably true in the case of intercollegiate athletics.
Athletic departments are now expected to provide more assistance to student-athletes, to render more services to student-athletes, to involve student-athletes more in governance of athletics than ever before. Student-athletes themselves, their activities at the association level, in the student-athlete advisory committee, have been significant. That committee has come to be an influential one in the governance of our association. And it has been replicated on our campuses by student-athlete committees across the country. Athletic directors are asked to effectively manage this burgeoning enterprise of relating to this new set of expectations.
There is also the question of play-for-pay, which we hear from relatively a small number of people, a few observers, a few coaches, a few athletes, a lot of media, who find this subject intriguing and athletics administrators are going to have to be in the forefront of that issue. I hope that we will join together in saying, "no, no, no". This is a divide that we cannot cross.
Another challenge is the tremendous growth in national championships and championship opportunities. This is mostly a plus, but it's a plus that costs a lot of money. That contributes to what seems to be a growing tension between intercollegiate athletics as entertainment and intercollegiate athletics as education. That enters the picture here and it threatens the progress that we have made in locating athletics more toward the center of college life, more as an integral part of college life, and we can't afford to lose that place now that we have gained it. The one-billion dollar plus NCAA television contract is a blessing, obviously, most of us would agree. Those dollars will help us in many positive ways, but they also exacerbate that tension. Athletics administrators will have to be involved in meeting and surmounting the challenges related there two.
Of course, there's restructuring, but that will be addressed later at this Convention. I must say that it's impressive to me that an organization of the size and scope and complexity and diversity like the NCAA, is willing to take on seriously, purposely, and I hope, successfully the job of remaking itself. There are still a lot of problems here, but we could not have undertaken this task without the consent and involvement of athletics administrators. We certainly cannot successfully complete it without your assistance.
There is, again, the continuing and constant challenges or diversity. That's a subject of consequence and discussions about restructuring. It's a subject that we are going to pursue with our panel this morning and again, athletics administrators will be in the middle of meeting these challenges. There is that old standby that we talk about constantly, complain about constantly and while we're talking and complaining, forests are around the world being felled to provide the paper that we require to write up all of the rules and regulations that guide our behavior to build and rebuild and rebuild again that everlasting tilted level playing field of ours, and that old standby is deregulation. One of these days, we're going to have to address it.
Frank Windegger, the athletic director at Texas Christian, has a copy of the NCAA Manual of 1959. He carries it with him wherever he goes. He takes it to bed with him, I believe and it is something that would fit into his pants pocket. It is about 45 pamphlet-size pages. I think of it as the Windegger watermark. I think of how the waters have risen since 1959 and how these days, the flood waters of regulations rage. This year's manual is almost 512 folio-size pages and it is accompanied by the Operating Manuals, plus all of the paper that is prepared for all of the committees and councils and commissions and conventions that pave the way for the publication of these manuals. All that paper, from my point of view, is land fill for the level playing field. You all know better than I about that because it is your job to insure that all of the regulations of every word, of every sentence, of every paragraph in all 512 pages is adhered to by the people in your charge and in your care.
It's up to you to keep up to date. For example, the business of enforcement of labels and trademarks legislation, I hope you're doing that. You'll remember what the manual said in 1993-94, that student-athletes may use all equipment or apparel that bears the trademarks of athletic equipment or apparel manufacturing or distributors in athletic competitions provided that the clothing bears only a single manufacturer or distributors not to exceed a one and one-half inch square in size. There was an actual precise representation of a one and one-half inch square. That's all changed. The manual now provides that the label or trademark not exceed two and one-quarter square inches in area and that can be a rectangle or a parallelogram as well as a square including any additional material. For example, a patch surrounding the normal trademark all must fit within that two and one-quarter square inches. So, we've traveled from a one and one-half inch square to a two and one-quarter square inches. It does make sense to all mathematicians. There are no pictures to represent this in the manual these days so, you have to deal with it without that assistance.
You remember the great color controversy prior to 1992 in Division I institutional athletic stationary was limited to one color. I'll never know how that happened since most schools have two colors, but limited to one on their athletic stationary in 1992. Thanks to a great national reform movement, we went to two colors. In 1993, one of the highlights of my life in the NCAA, the color restriction was removed and you can have as many as you want on your athletic stationary, though, you're still restricted to one on your recruitment brochure.
We have risen well above the Windegger watermark by now. I believe that it's time to start working backwards to get ourselves out of the colors and labels and trademarks and move back toward the idea. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a 45 page NCAA Manual. It probably won't get there, but we ought to start moving in that direction. We won't be able to do that without big help from athletics administrators. So, we're going to be dealing in the years to come in different ways with student-athletes learning how to make work this new set of relationships. We're going to be dealing with the dollars and their impact on our business. We're going to be dealing with this tension between athletics as entertainment and athletics as education, making sure that the education side of it must win. We're going to be dealing with the restructuring agenda, the challenges of diversity and derregulation. All things that, as you know, can divide us but, things that can break down the ties that bind us, the ties of trust, etc. It's vital that we continue to do this business of meeting our challenges together.
I've had a grand time being involved that last 10 years, working some of that time at the policy level, with the NCAA and most of that time, especially appreciating the opportunity of getting to know and work with a lot of very fine people, such as yourselves, serving in the trenches, dedicated people making this work and doing the right thing, moving the enterprise we share down the road in the right direction. Sometimes slowly, but always more movement to come. I trust we'll be doing it together.
Thank you for letting me share some thoughts with you this morning. It's been a privilege to be with you. I've had a great time dealing with the challenges of my own in my 10 years with the NCAA and I'm pleased to share my thoughts with you this morning. I'm going to wind up my remarks. Thank you.
Thank you, Joe. We appreciate those comments. They fit right in with our next session which is "College Athletics in the Year 2000". I want to, again, thank Jim Copeland and the Executive Committee for putting together such an outstanding program that we're about to experience.
Joe, we appreciate your leadership over the years in athletic administration and we appreciate the message your shared with us today. There is no question, change is inevitable and we, as administrators, must learn to manage it so we can provide a quality experience for the student-athletes we serve. We appreciate you being here and setting the stage, here is something to express our thanks from the membership. Thanks, Joe.
As Joe mentioned, we've had unbelievable change in our years in the athletic industry and we're about to face significant change in the future. Again, our job is to appropriately manage that change and create opportunities for all of our people in our enterprise so they can develop and become great leaders in our society. I'd like to turn over the moderation of our fine program today to Joe Crowley.