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NAIA Breakout
The State of the Association
(Tuesday, June 11, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.)

Greg Feris:

I have a special guest I would like to introduce before James Chasteen begins his remarks today. Dr. Ken Butsma is with us. Some of you met him at our reception yesterday hosted by Mutual of Omaha. Ken is here, and in fact, I think you are one of the first Council of Presidents to ever attend one of our summer meetings. We really do appreciate you being here. Ken is stepping down from the Council of Presidents as chair at the end of June. He's retired from his university, Trinity Christian College, outside of Chicago. I mentioned to someone before we started that I have not known Ken that long. I've been able to watch his moves from afar, but I've only gotten to really know him during the past year. Ken is very definitely a bridge builder within the NAIA circles and we're fortunate to have him here with us today.

Ken Butsma:

When you sit on the COP you probably see things differently than when you're sitting out there and you're wondering what in the world are these guys doing and who do these presidents think they are. It is a rather precarious position to be in. Some of you probably know the president of Biola College in California. He gave a speech in Washington, D.C. a while back. He said the president is like being in a snake pit. You don't want to make any sudden moves. Sometimes that's true and sometimes, you need to make sudden moves.

One of the things that's been most frustrating in my five years as chair in the last year and a half is to watch how things have developed and the kind of things that have gone on in the last six years. When we got together in Grenelefe for our COP meeting, these were intense meetings. You might think we get together and love to jaw. Well, the minute you have a little spare time, one of the presidents is off making a phone call or making a presentation or playing golf with a former donor and, all of a sudden, you've lost part of your audience.

I want to give you just a few of my welcoming remarks to that three-day meeting we had. These are critical times for higher education. There's a new degree of accountability. Parents, corporations, crediting agencies are all defining the difference between what is and what ought to be. We all have ideas about what ought to be. How to get there is quite another picture. We're trying to figure out how to get there wherever there is, and sometimes, we don't define that very well.

We talk about living in a valueless society. I could go on and on with quotations. It's a tough time and we all have ideas on how to cure the ills. We have COP members who come in, whether they're influenced by you, or whether you influence us directly, we try to take that into account and try to figure out the best direction. Where do we get that feedback? One of the things I said at that time and I know it's true for the president/elect, Dr. Sheila Stearns of Montana State College, this was a direct quote I used there -- "I do not intend to avoid or flee the tough questions and we're not going to get caught up with the large group syndrome, or the hot topic supporters. We are going to be truthful, honest, straightforward and tough minded while pursuing both excellence and opportunity and what is best for the NAIA. In all of this, we must be compatible, well connected and alert to our history and today's conditions, yet compassionate and understanding." That's hard. That's very difficult to do. How do you take this organization which has been under a different style of leadership and is now under a much tighter organizational structural? We've gone from districts to regions and we've lost some communications there. We're looking at how to recover some of that. There are very few things that we do, creatively, in the COP except to react, to respond, to approve or deny. We don't generate a lot of new stuff. We try to generate excitement within the membership to do the things we need to do to build the organization.

So, along those lines, we talked about duty of loyalty and conflict of interest. We're assigned to be leaders, not followers. We're trying to move in the right direction. One of the frustrations I have discovered in this type of leadership is there's never enough. That's true. I've had faculty members say, "how come we don't have that new science building already?" Little do they know how many calls I've made and how many times I've called on this major donor to get this $7 million gift. In light of that, we're also wanting to build an auditorium and a performing arts center and all of the support that goes with that. It's 78,000 square feet. How come you don't have that $15 million yet? Well, it takes the right moment and that major donor to say yes. Why don't we have $15 million a year income for the NAIA so we can pay for all of the catastrophic insurance and we can pay for everybody's trips to the nationals? We don't have the same philosophy as some of the other organizations. We're concerned about students. When you run all of this past and you don't use beer advertising or cigarettes or you're not able to land a $1.3 billion dollar contract for television, where do you find that support? Where do you find those new avenues?

In an attempt to get that going and a handle on it, we formed a group of new committees within this COP so we just don't act as a Council of the whole. Those who sit on the Administrative Committee include Sheila Stearns, who I just mentioned, Jim Bultman from Northwestern College in Iowa, Bill Crouch from Georgetown College in Kentucky, Rich Keiegbaum from Fresno Pacific and Tom Feld from Mount Mercy and Dr. Chasteen. We also have a newly formed Compensation and Evaluation Committee. So, along with the 33 presidents, and we usually have 28 at every meeting, we have tight agendas. Organizationally, we're trying to get to the heart of the issues. We now have a balanced budget and we have had for several years. We're providing more in direction for ideas, whether that be in the whole concept of financial aid and we put out there a trial balloon. How does this look? It's going to be talked about again. I know it's reactionary. It's not easy. When we tried an in-depth, short survey, we got a really good flavor from 600 respondents.

We felt we needed to do a little more, so we put together a marketing contract with a gentleman named Archie Ellis. We have that final report. I have not seen it yet. We'll look at that as someone said, you can't take every word of it because it all doesn't fit. It does give us direction. It gives us help. That's what we want from you. The NAIA is not the COP. The NAIA is it's members and we are only there to help chart the course and hold it on line. We have been particularly pleased with, what I feel, is a very strong organization today, the NAIA office. I've been there and I've spent time there with the staff. I've talked to them individually. I think today, we are more as one, more than we've been in the last six or seven years. I'm proud of that and I'm pleased about that.

The other highlight for me will be next Sunday, when the Leadership Council, and that includes the four chairs and the Administrative Committee, will meet to look at and plan. The sad part for me is that will be my last meeting as chair. Of all of the organizations I've been part of, this one is going to be the hardest for me to leave. I hate to leave this organization because I've met people and I've learned to love people that I've never know in my life. They aren't Dutch. They're not of the same church, but they have the same values because it's the students that everybody wants to help. More and more here than anywhere else, I've belonged.

I say thanks and I hope you have the courage and the fortitude to be honest and forthright and upfront and help us and direct us, as members of this organization, and I trust God will help us. Thank you.

Greg Feris:

Our speaker this morning, Dr. James Chasteen, president/CEO of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, has been with the association for six years. There's no question in my mind that James has provided outstanding leadership during that time. He has certainly become a friend of mine. We feel we've always had a very honest and open dialogue with him. I'm very pleased he has seen fit to work his schedule out for the second year in a row to be a part of our meetings here at NACDA. We have said we felt the NAIA needed a stronger presence within NACDA and James has helped give us that by being in attendance. I'd like to welcome Dr. James Chasteen, president of the NAIA.

James Chasteen:

Thank you very much Greg. What a treat it's been for me to get to work with Ken. I wish he could stay on the COP for the next few years. Trust me Ken, we'll find a fit for you and the NAIA to continue this partnership and the working relationship. You've got to agree with me if you look at the convention last year and the work of the NAIA, that Ken has been the most positive influence on our association. Ken, I would like to publicly thank you for making us all feel better. He's one of these people who makes you a better person by just being around him. We're fortunate to have him. NAIA is about being with friends and having the association is a thrill for me. There is a camaraderie and appreciation and friendship and respect for each other in the NAIA.

As I look at those kinds of feelings and the things we've accomplished, NAIA has been on the cutting edge for years. Ken alluded to our rich history. A couple of comments were made yesterday that reminded me of that. Someone asked when did the NAIA host the first national championship for women? As you know, it was 1981-82. When did we have opportunities to have black athletes participate in a national tournament? We were the first to do that when Clarence Walker came from Indiana State and John Wooden was the coach. When did we start academic standards for the NAIA? In 1986, as most of you know. We've done a good many things and I want to reiterate all of those. NAIA has been on the cutting edge. My interest and concern is to make sure the NAIA continues to stay out front and to provide leadership in the athletic arena, as well as society in general. I'll speak to that later.

The questions keep coming to me about what is it that's so unique and special about the NAIA? How do we capture the spirit and the feeling I felt when Ken was talking? What is it that makes the NAIA unique? Where is that niche for the NAIA? As an old coach and college president, I've listened to people over the years and they always go back to basics when they talk about teaching people something.

What is it that's unique about the NAIA and what is it that's special about us? Obviously, we have an emphasis on the student-athlete and his or her graduation. We have a commitment to values that Ken alluded to, such as no endorsement of alcoholic products, no Sunday play for NAIA championships and no endorsement of tobacco products. We are being reminded now how increasingly important that is for the health of our society and our individuals. The NAIA has stood up for that. As professionals, you as athletic directors, you as coaches or presidents, all have a part to play in the decision-making process of the NAIA. There are numerous leadership opportunities for you in the NAIA. We are a grassroots organization.

Athletics are a part of a distinct academic model. It's not a business model. There is commitment to academic integrity. Championship events provide many opportunities for many NAIA student-athletes to have quality competition. Yesterday, I mentioned our championship events. What a thrill it is to go to an NAIA event, and I'm determined our COP members will be able to go and participate and to see our student-athletes. What a special time it is, not only for our student-athletes, but for those of us who have a chance to go and visit and watch those students compete.

The NAIA has eligibility for every contest per term with a student-athlete working toward a degree. We're very proud of the fact that in order to participate as an athlete in the NAIA, you must be making progress toward a degree. Friends working with friends. There are many friendships that develop through the NAIA and that's important for an association. The NAIA's commitment is to the education of student-athletes, not the filling of an arena or a stadium. The NAIA is a grassroots, volunteer organization. Athletes are a part of a total college community. There is a genuine caring about the individual at the NAIA.

One of the things that impresses me as I go to championship events and as I visit many colleges is the real dedication and concern for those students on those campuses. That's a strong plus for the NAIA. We are committed to the student-athlete. As we begin to understand and define the NAIA, how do we put that into practice? What kinds of things are going on within our association that assures that we will be committed to that kind of association? In my opinion, we have a COP that's committed to the future of the NAIA and to this philosophy and to this model.

In our meeting at Grenelefe, they made a commitment to membership development within the NAIA and to carry out the mission of the NAIA. They are going to visit our campuses. They are going to visit new presidents. They are going to visit dual members of the NAIA and share with them the philosophy of the NAIA so they might understand it. I mention this because I feel it's one of the more important things we need to do is membership retention and membership recruitment. As I visited around campuses across the country, particularly with new presidents, I've been asked, "what does NAIA stand for? I don't know that organization." We have new presidents who come in who don't know our association, so it's important we visit them. This year, we had 56 new presidents in the NAIA. That's been true for the last three or four years. There's a turnover of about 50 to 60 presidents every year. Many of them come into the association that don't know us. Now, our president will say they will assist with this particular effort and we will go visit those presidents and tell them about the NAIA. Membership retention and recruitment is very important to the COP. That's one of the things they're going to do. We have developed a strategy. We're implementing some activities, hopefully, that will be helpful to us in the long run. The most important issue facing us is membership within the NAIA. We're doing things with the COP and other groups to, hopefully, recruit some new institutions and retain those we have.

Let me share some things with you that are going on that uphold and carry out what we're trying to do in the national office. In addition to membership development, we've talked about the importance of raising money, resource development. Bill and his staff took to the COP meeting last spring, a plan for the resource development and involvement, again, of the COP and other people in the association to identify corporations and individuals who might financially support the NAIA. The idea is to, not only, go to the marketing money, but we need to identify people who are comfortable with our philosophy. We think there are people and companies out there with money. If we tell them what we stand for and what our philosophy is, we feel they will contribute to the NAIA. We raise about, as you know, $1 million a year in the national office. Many of you have good success stories in your conferences or on your campuses of money you've raised for an event or for your conference. We need to do even more in the development and education of how to do that. The national office is committed to raising even more money. It's critically important to our membership.

How can we assure the philosophy of our association will continue? In my opinion, not only do we need to raise money to provide services that our important to our membership, in order to do that, we must get out and raise even more money for our association. There is that commitment. One of the primary reasons we want to do that is we might be able to reimburse more for travel. We've only had this kind of effort in place for 10 years. The national office never really had a fund raising effort prior to 10 years ago. The COP made a commitment in Denver in 1986 that we wanted to have a fund raising effort, a development office, so the NAIA started doing that. As I say, we raise about $1 million a year in that particular regards. We need to pick up the pace. We need to get more money for reimbursement to travel.

At the same time, we need to do some things on image enhancement. We need to be able to do more in public relations and getting the NAIA name out to the public. The NCAA has an image problem. They have things happening they have to try to combat. Some of the things going on in Alabama and Florida, etc. Well, the NAIA image problem is that people don't know enough about us. We feel if people know what we stand for, we'll have a more positive response from them. We've got to do some things about image enhancement.

To that end, the COP voted and asked us to contact a professional ad agency, AdCraft out of Kentucky, and they're giving us some advice on how to do a better job with promoting the NAIA. Some of those strategies are being put into place, but we need money. We don't have the big bucks, but we do have some money. As you know, we have about a $3.5 million budget in the national office. We're trying to commit as much of our resources to image enhancement as we possibly can because it is important. If we feel and believe strongly in the NAIA philosophy, we need to share that message. There are institutions out there, if they knew where we're going and what we're doing, they would want to be a part of the NAIA's future. We need to be able to communicate that in a meaningful way to them.

Another way we're trying to carry out this mission and philosophy and let people know is to improve the communication within the national office, from the national office to the membership, and from different councils to other councils. In that regard, we now have the national office computerized. They are now networked so the other offices can communicate with each other. We're on Internet and we'll be communicating to you what our address is and our home page, etc., within Internet. We're doing some things with the computer which we feel will help us with communication. We have so much going on in the NAIA and in the national office that we need to communicate to you and you need to communicate back to us. With this technology, we'll be able to do a better job with that. Communication is critically important to us and we want to do an even better job with that.

We're implementing what I refer to as ambassadors for the NAIA. These are individuals who are experts in particular areas or fields that will be made available to our institutions, conferences. If you're wanting to expand a conference or start a conference, recruit a member-institution or you have a particular problem with understanding Title IX, you can contact me in the national office. I will identify someone and make that person available to you that can assist you or your institution or conference with whatever the need might be. Communication and service is very important.

The other thing we're wanting to do is have regional meetings. People will come and talk about the issues and talk about the future of the NAIA if we hold that meeting in their region. Another idea we have is I'm recommending we hold an NAIA summit. Different groups hold summit meetings where they discuss and concentrate on particular issues. I think the NAIA ought to hold an NAIA summit. All of the council members come together. Every member of those councils sit down with the COP in the same room and, as Ken was saying, talk openly and honestly with each other about the NAIA. What are the issues we're dealing with and where we're going and, more importantly, how we're going to get there? It may be we can do that at the convention. But, my dream and my hope is that we'll find some time during the year when we can come together for a couple of days and focus our energies and attention, as a team, on the NAIA and what we want to do, where we want to go and how are we going to get there. I hope we can do that within this year.

Another issue that is important to me is gender equity. We've done some things in our association to address that. We've adopted certain policies. We've put in our constitution certain commitments. We now have a chair of the NCC, the chair of the COP, women who will lead this association. We need to look, again, at what our association can do to stay on the cutting edge and be up front and provide leadership in that arena, as well. A particular interest I have personally, and I think the NAIA is positioned beautifully to deal with this, is dealing with issues of citizenship and civility. We have a real need in our country for models for young people and I think athletes and the NAIA, as an association, could be in a great position to teach our young people our citizenry about basic, common courtesies and good behavior, how to be a good winner, how to be a good loser. I'm not sure I agree with the statement that you show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser. People can lose gracefully. It does bother me when I see some of the behavior and some national events when people lose and some of the behaviors when people win. Something needs to be done and I think the NAIA should take some leadership position. To that end, we've had several meetings with pro sports leaders, Ced Dempsey with the NCAA, George Killian with the junior colleges, and the High School Federation a few years ago. We're at the point where it looks like we'll have some legislation introduced to Congress to call for a national forum on sportsmanship. I hope the NAIA will continue to be a leader and provide leadership to that regard.

If you look at our motto, at the bottom it says, "Athletics - education for leadership, character and citizenship." What I'm saying is the NAIA should be on the cutting edge in all of those. But, for my personal interests, especially on citizenship and what that could mean for our association.

I felt when Ken was speaking, he captured what the NAIA is really all about. What a great association we have. Let's be determined that we're going to maintain the NAIA and what it really means and what the people of the past have established for us and make sure we keep it up front, keep things going forward and in a very positive way. It's such an honor and pleasure for me to be here, to see you and I really appreciate everything you do.