All NACDA Members
The New Structure of College Athletics
(Tuesday, June 11, 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.)
As I think back on yesterday's sessions and especially what Bob Griese, Billy Payne and Tom Hill said about the relationships between coaches and their athletes and the influence our coaches have, not only the four years that they are with us, but for a lifetime, I also think about the decisions that we make as administrators on the national level and on our local levels and how they affect the athlete. I think about the changes we have been through in the last two or three years. I think about the things Tom Hill brought to our attention yesterday that we are going to have to deal within the years to come. I think about the restructuring of the structure of the NCAA. Even though that seems far removed, we've got to consider how does that affect our athletes. I think about the agent question that many of us have to deal with, hopefully, not on a day-to-day basis, but from time to time and how does that affect our student-athletes.
As I think about those things, it makes me think that we also need to have the very best leadership we can at the helm leading the NCAA. Cedric Dempsey brings a perspective to that position that very few can. He's been a student-athlete, a coach and an athletic administrator. A graduate of Albion College, a coach of almost every sport at Albion and Arizona, an AD at San Diego State, Pacific, Houston and Arizona, a member of the NCAA Executive Committee, secretary/treasurer of that association, a member of our Board, the Executive Committee and the 2nd vice president of NACDA when he became the executive director of the NCAA. We could not have a better person leading the NCAA as we go through very uncertain and uncharted waters in the next three or four years. Please welcome, Cedric Dempsey.
Thanks Jim, and good morning. I had the strangest feeling this morning. I fell asleep last night thinking about what I might say this morning. I woke up about 5:30 a.m. and went through my normal routine in a hotel, fixing coffee in the room, opening the door looking for my newspaper. I picked up the newspaper and it said, "NCAA Director to Propose Relaxed Rules. NCAA May Open Doors to Players Cashing In." I stopped reading and I thought, I've already given the speech. I really began to wonder how to address you this morning since you've already read the newspaper, because that's not what I'm talking about today. Then, I had to sit in the corner of the room and rewrite my speech for this morning so that it would come out the way they said. It's a strange feeling to read what you're going to say before you say it. It is also a good challenge at this point in time.
With this group, I feel I'm among my peers and it's a great opportunity to stay for two or three days and have the opportunity to talk with you individually about your views on some of the issues and it helps begin to focus on what's before the association. I do want to talk a little about the new structure of the organization. I want to talk about some of the activities of the subcommittees that are going on because I think they affect the new structure and where we're headed with the NCAA. Then, at the end, if there are any questions, provide the opportunity to have any interchange you might so desire. Following this session, as many of you know, there are some breakout sessions and, particularly, those in the NCAA Divisions I, II, III will have the opportunity to meet with our chiefs of staffs in those areas and members of the transition teams and talking about, more specifically, those topics related to each division. So, we hope the session today will bring you up-to-date regarding what's happened with the restructuring since last January. I would just like to remind you, in looking backwards, what happened in January, because in many ways it was a monumental event for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Ninety-one percent of our membership voted to restructure. Some have said that was a great political effort. I would prefer to say it is an indication our membership felt it was time to make a change in the structure of the association. There are basically three things we attempted to accomplish through that restructuring, as you will recall. One, was a clarification of presidential authority within the association. Secondly, was federating the association into three distinct bodies, and thirdly, was to streamline and develop a more efficient way of handling the legislative process of the organization. That's what was attempted through the restructuring legislation. I don't think there's any question about the one in terms of clarification of presidential authority, there's no question about the federation of the three divisions, and what is before the membership and before the three federated groups now, is to try to develop a streamlined, more efficient way of running intercollegiate athletics through that federated concept.
I want to talk a little bit about the procedures and direction that's occurred since that particular time in each division, give you an overall view, if you will, of what is going on with those three divisions and, as I say, during the breakouts you'll have an opportunity to hear more specifically what is occurring in each of your particular divisions you're associated with.
First of all, in Division I, there has been put in place a mock up with the transition teams of what the Management Council and what the Board of Directors in Division I would look like. It took sometime to put that particular transition program into effect and created some, certainly, apprehension and some unrest, I think, within Division I. The reason it took a considerable amount of time was the attitude that Division I went into the transition and restructuring approach related to diversity. The Division I Steering Committee and Division I Presidents Commission members were not interested, at the time, in developing a quota system related to diversity. They felt they could assure diversity through their philosophical commitment to that particular mission. In the process, they wanted to allow each conference to name its own members to the particular bodies of the Board of Directors and the Management Council. Idealistically, I think all of us agreed with the principles and mission of the direction.
The problem was when the members of the Division I Association, the conferences, submitted their representatives to both of those bodies, it was not a diverse body. So, what happened was by April, when we had hoped to name the Board of Directors of the Division I federated group, they had to meet and look at themselves and say, "We're not a diverse group, so what are we going to do about it?" They had a very difficult decision. They had a very difficult discussion. In looking at each other and saying, "We're not diverse. We must provide diversity and so, some of you are going to have to get off. Some of you will not be able to serve in that capacity because we have to go back to the membership and ask for greater diversity among this body." Several of the presidents, in a collegial manner, said, "We're from a conference where there is potential to add diversity to this group." So, they resigned from the Board of Directors. Then we had to go back to the conferences involved and ask, "Would you please reconsider your nominees for the Board of Directors and submit other alternative selections for the members of the Board of Directors as well as the Management Council?" That process took a while. It was not a clean process. I think, as all of us began to look at it, the principle was good. Certainly the principle of conferences being able to name their own representatives was sound, but it is not a way in which you can assure diversity. Therefore, one of the charges of the Management Council will be to come up with a review evaluation of the present approach and look to see if there's a better way we can deal with the appointments related to the Board of Directors and the Management Council so we do not get into this position again.
The problem wasn't so much at the NCAA and at the Board of Directors level. It really came out of the conference level and some of you are from conferences where you were asked to reconsider your appointees. In that reconsideration, there were some hard feelings developed, to be blunt. There were a lot of concerns that came out of those conferences as to whether or not they had the ability and had the right to name their own representatives and resented, in a sense, a pressure, if you will, to reconsider whom they appointed. I think the major problem with the present structure is really tied into what goes on at the conference level if they can't have full autonomy in naming whom they want to have as their representatives. I think that is certainly one of the issues that will take place in the discussions of the Management Council in Division I, and they will propose legislation to the Presidents Commission and to the NCAA existing Council on how we might approach that particular issue in the future.
The Division I Management Council has had one meeting and they divided into five separate subcommittees to deal with a variety of issues. A number of those subcommittees have already met, at least by conference call, one in person, and the Management Council will meet here at the conclusion of the NACDA meeting in an effort to focus upon those issues that will require any legislative proposals for the January 1997 meeting. Obviously, there are still a lot of issues to be resolved in terms of details, but what is critical at this point is trying to work through what are the legislative changes that will be necessary to implement the new structure in August of 1997. If you'll recall, that is what was approved by the membership last January, that there will be this basically 18-month transition period and then we
will begin the new structure with the new academic year of 1997-98.
So, the Management Council has that particular task and, in an attempt to expedite that task, they divided into five groups, one of which, is a group on the substructure of how Division I will operate. That substructure, as some of you will recall, below the Management Council that was proposed was a cabinet structure of trying to group a lot of the responsibilities that exist over a variety of committees at present into a smaller group of committees, of cabinet structures, recognizing that even below the cabinet structure that it will be necessary to have committees reporting through those cabinet structures into the Management Council. So, one of the first charges will be for that subcommittee to be looking at whether or not the cabinet structure makes sense, and also, looking at what kind of substructure below the cabinets would exist and might best function. It is hoped, and was hoped at the beginning, as we got into this process, that we would be able to reduce the number of committees within the association. I'm not convinced that, in the total picture of all three federated groups, we're going to reduce the number of overall committees. However, I think we can certainly streamline some of the effectiveness and reduce some of the overlapping responsibilities that presently exist between some of our existing committees. So, that's one subgroup that's been working with Division I.
A second group has been working on the diversity plan, which I already addressed. It is looking at how can we better the process I've already talked about that existed from last January until now in assuring that, within Division I, there is diversity. I want to say this. After all the problems of the delay in Division I, we have a more diverse body now in Division I with the Management Council and in the Board of Directors than we had under the old structure where there were certain requirements. So, what was intended, what the mission, what the philosophy of the Presidents Commission was on Division I, was accomplished. But, it's a cumbersome process and it also is one that, I don't think, left a lot of good feelings, as I said, particularly at the conference level.
The third subcommittee is dealing with the budgetary process for Division I. As you will recall, each federated group will have its own budget process. Divisions II and III have a finite guaranteed percentage related to its operation and Division I will have its budgetary process and then there will be an overall Executive Committee that will review the overall budget of the association. Division I, as the other two divisions have, as well, will deal with their own specific budgetary process. That group, as well, has had a conference call and will have a meeting here on Wednesday afternoon to report its actions to the full Management Council on Thursday.
There will be a committee that is dealing with analysis of legislating process in Division I. Division I, as you know, has changed the most dramatic of the three divisions in a sense that we have moved to a representative process and it is no longer a one-institution, one-vote concept and is a more representative form of governance than what we have had in the past. So, that whole legislative process needs to be examined and the details worked out related to legislative proposals and how actions will be taken by that particular federated group.
There is also a I-AA subcommittee on football, developed primarily, entirely of Division I-AA members to look at the issues related to that particular sport in Division I and those institutions who sponsor I-AA.
As I indicated, the Management Council will be meeting here at the end of this meeting. I know there has been some concerns in this new structure as to whether or not athletic directors will have as much responsibility and will have as much voice in the new structure as they had in the old. I think it's interesting to look at the Management Council which is a mock up of what a new Management Council would look like. There's over 50 percent of that Management Council that are athletic directors. That's much higher than the old structure, those of you who've served on the NCAA Council as it relates to athletic directors. I have no doubt in my mind that athletic directors will have greater input into the process than we've had before. I'm not concerned at all as it relates to presidential authority and how that's going to work. I really anticipate that the Management Council will be the working body of Division I. The Presidents Commission will certainly look at the oversight, Executive Board, Board of Directors. We've got a lot of different names we've got to get used to here. The Board of Directors will be the body that will look at the oversight of the principles and philosophy of the association and look at detailed information that will be recommended by the Management Council to make sure that it is in concert with those principles and the mission of Division I and of intercollegiate athletics.
What are the main issues still before Division I? From my perspective, I think number one, is what we've talked about so often, in that there's still a lot of mistrust in Division I. There's mistrust between the divisions of I-A, I-AA and I-AAA. Hopefully, that will begin to break down as we work through this process. I think that is still a major item as we work through the details of how we move forward in the Division I federated group.
The second issue I think we need to work through, obviously, is an understanding of the federated concept versus the old democratic approach of one vote per institution that exists in Division I, and that is unique as we've talked about, to Division I.
In Division II, and let me pause here just to remind you of the difference in that governance structure I've alluded to in Division I and the structure that exists in II and III. If you do a comparison of our existing structure in Divisions II and III and the proposed new structure in Divisions II and III, there's actually very little difference. We've had, within the NCAA Council, in the past, had steering committees in I, II and III and, in a sense, you could relate the steering committee that exists under the old structure with the Management Council that exists in II and III. We also had a group in the Presidents Commission of Divisions II and III presidents that worked on issues and you might relate that to what in II and III is being called the Presidents Commission. So, keep in mind, in Division I you have a Board of Directors of presidents which corresponds to a federated structure. Divisions II and III, you remain, in a sense, with your present Presidents Councils in each of those bodies. So, in Divisions II and III, we have retained one vote per institution. In Division I, we have a federated body, so there's a significant difference in the legislative structure in those three particular bodies. In Division II, both the Management Council and the Presidents Commission are seated and have been working.
They have set up three or four project teams which are similar to what is in Division I. One project team deals with governance, one with financial aid, one with championships and one with membership. You can see a slight difference between the subcommittees in Division II and what there is in Division I.
The governance project team has already had one phone call and one in person meeting and again, will look at that legislative process of how to move forward, how it will function under the new federated concept.
The financial aid project team is looking at different financial aid models for Division II and they expect to present a progress report at the 1997 convention with probably legislative action for the 1998 legislative arm, or activity that will take place in Division II in 1998. So, they will not anticipate, at this point, to propose any major changes related to financial aid, but will take the period of time from now until 1998 to massage different alternatives related to financial aid for student-athletes.
The championship and membership project teams will begin their sessions in late fall in talking about how they're going to structure themselves to meet the requirements for championships in Division II beginning in 1997-98. Since they do not expect any major legislative changes related to that area, it's not necessary for them to expedite their process so, they will begin most of their study beginning in the fall of this year.
It's interesting and encouraging that on these topics, the Division II transition team prepared and sent out a survey to its membership asking for feedback from the membership on a number of these issues. Amazingly, they received over 81 percent response from its membership as to what the interest of the Division II membership is on a number of these topics. It illustrates to me, as I've attended all three divisions, that Division II probably has its act together better now than any of the three divisions. There's great excitement within Division II. There's very good working cooperation between the Presidents Commission and the Management Council in that body and they're really off and running. I applaud the leadership of Division II for the progress they have made and the time on this particular topic.
I also think, and I've said this frequently, that Division II has, maybe, the best opportunity to prosper under this new structure. I think many of us know and feel that Division II, at times, has been caught between a lot of the policies and procedures in Division I and they just usually downgrade a little bit of the activities in Division I and see how it fits in Division II. They get lost sometimes with the philosophy in Division III, so they've been caught in between I and III. I really feel the new structure is going to give Division II an opportunity for its own identification and I would anticipate in the next few years, we'll see sizeable growth in Division II because I think it will have its own identity and I think that's what's created some of the excitement we've seen as we've worked through the process that is at hand.
Division III is also up and running with its Management Council and Presidents Commission. They have been dealing with a number of philosophical issues as it's divided its subcommittees to work on some of those issues. Those issues were existing before we moved into a new structure, but I think it's given them a great opportunity to reevaluate its mission in Division III, a lot of discussion related in the issues of commonality. Division III may be more diverse than even Division I is in its mission and its institutions. You have institutions from 500 to 35,000. You have public institutions. You have private institutions, You have a wide variety of types of institutions in Division III and they have spent a great deal of time talking about the commonality of institutions within Division III and what impact the new structure has upon that and giving them a good opportunity to evaluate what its future might be.
There's been a great concern in Division III and this started, obviously, with the increased growth of the association and the concern about the number of NAIA schools that had applied for membership within Divisions II and III. Division III, in particular, had great concerns as it was moving forward within its own federated structure of what impact the growth might have on its own particular division. So again, talking about growth as it relates to championships, access to championships, as the size of the federated body increases, the potential for a reduction in access decreases. So, they have had a subcommittee working on the championships issue to see whether or not they ought to look at two types of championships. There are a whole kind of variety of concepts related to that and as you get into the breakout session today, I think you'll have a good discussion on that particular issue. But, commonality, growth, access to championships are certainly of concern within that particular division.
They have a variety of championship initiatives that I won't go into at this point, but I think that those of you in Division III would enjoy that discussion this morning and I encourage you to participate in it because there are a number of models that have been discussed by that particular committee and it's something that Division III will need to address.
The entire area, if you were to subdivide Division III, based upon greater commonality, is an issue before that segment of our membership and they have been working at some length in trying to resolve that. There has been interest within the Division III subcommittee to look at ways of developing more commonality through greater requirements for participation in that division. Increasing the provisional membership period for new members from three to five years is one concept that has been discussed. Increasing the minimum number of sports that a Division III institution might require, certainly allowing for some waiver potential to that. For those in Division III, some of those issues are not new. They have been discussed for some time, but this has allowed Division III to focus more clearly on them. Increasing the team sports sponsorship requirements to at least three team sports for each gender is another concept that's been talked about in Division III and attempting to develop some broader basic principles for determining membership in that particular issue. They have also a governance initiative committee, just like the other two divisions, in talking about how they will govern themselves and looking at the legislative process. They have taken action, at their last time, to propose that there will be two student-athletes participating on the Management Council and would have voting privileges on the Management Council. That's the only body of the three federated groups that has recommended that approach at this stage, but it is an issue and I want to talk about that as I close. All three federated groups need to look at the role of the student-athletes in the legislative process and where do they best fit according to the structure of each federated body.
I have felt, in observing some of the Division III sessions that I've attended, that they are working in good faith, and despite the very philosophical issues before them, they have, I think, a very professional and collegial manner in trying to resolve those issues and, again, I see great excitement over that. I think there's a good working group and there's good cooperation between the Presidents Commission Group and the Management Council groups.
So, that is a not-too-brief overview of where the restructuring process is, and as I said, at the breakout sessions you will have an opportunity to talk in greater detail, but we will be happy to entertain questions related to the structural issues as I complete my remarks.
I did want to address this morning a few of the activities and actions that have been going on through special committee work over the last few months and, at least, update you on some of the discussion. And, I put it in that manner, not proposals, but discussions that have taken place. There's always a fear when you throw out those points that people think it's already cast in stone and that is not the case. But, I think it's important for you to understand at least some of the subcommittee actions and some of their recommendations. In some cases that will go to the Executive Committee and, in some cases, to the NCAA Council for consideration. What has been encouraging to me, has been a creative thinking atmosphere out of a number of those committees. When we talk about change and a new structure, it is obvious and evident when you participate in those particular committees.
Before I get into that, I forgot I wanted to talk a little bit about the internal restructuring the staff has done in order to meet the new challenges of the new federated concept. In looking at the new structure, it seemed to us the role of the executive director becomes, in a sense, more complex in some ways, but also, at the same time, some of the responsibilities involved with the role of the executive director will be involved in working with a number of the presidential bodies, with higher education, and that we needed to look at our own staff to make sure that, as a staff, we remain in contact with all the constituent groups. So, we began to start at that level and work down through the staff and how we might best serve the association.
To give you one example of the change that will occur with the executive director's role, this past month we were voted into what is referred to as the Higher Education Secretariat. It is a body of some 30 administrative leaders of higher education groups that meet monthly and discuss issues related to higher education. That's the first time, as an association, we have been asked to participate in that group since its origin and it gives us a great opportunity to have good communication with other higher education groups. We saw last year one example of the importance of that, and that was related to some of the community college legislation that we proposed in January. The community college higher education group had some strong concerns about that proposal, and certainly, the perception that it presented to the community college system and through working together, I think we resolved and compromised on that particular legislation related to transfer units. I think there's some advantages for us to be involved in that kind of structure, but that takes time again. What we attempted to do, was determine where my time externally was going to go and how we then make sure that we do have the kind of participation by staff at all of our constituent groups which continues to grow in structure. With that, we divided the role of what was Tom Jernstedt's role of associate executive director and chief operating officer and named Dan Bogan as chief operating officer to free some time for Tom to have the opportunity to have more interchange externally. It also seemed to us as we're going through this process of transition, and under the new working structure, we needed staff assigned specifically to the purpose of each federated body. We named those as chiefs of staff and we have one in each division -- Steve Morgan in Division I, Nancy Mitchell in Division II, and Dan Dutcher in Division III. They have been helping the transition process and will continue working with the three federated bodies in a direct liaison role. The feedback on that has been very positive and I think that part of the reorganization has been beneficial. Someone within the staff told me recently we've had, in the last five months, 55 people reassigned. So, with that, and with some attrition we've had of staff moving on into the membership positions, we've had a couple of unique problem areas that we hope that you will appreciate and understand. We've had some criticism in the last few months related to our Membership Service area. Part of that was due to the fact that many of our chiefs of staffs and assistant chiefs of staffs assigned to the federated bodies came out of Membership Services. In addition, we had five vacancies occur at the same time, so my staff has been extremely overloaded. The number of phone calls they receive weekly is unbelievable from the membership and from the public related to interpretations and dealing with membership issues. So, that area is about back up to speed, from a personnel standpoint, but we hope you will bear with us as we go through that particular transition. That is the one group of our staff that has been hit the hardest through the number of reassignments that we've had within the staff.
We also decided to separate, out of Membership Services, Enforcement into a separate group and that has been done without really very many problems related to it. With the other changes we've made, it certainly has broadened the decision-making responsibilities of the association, hopefully, into more of a functional body and one that's more effective for the membership. That will be a continual transition, just as we go through the transition of the membership.
The one other issue as we talk about the subcommittees we have in place, I only want to address about three of them. One, is what's been referred to as Project 2000, and that is an office location study. A study to try to determine what kind of environment within our office that we're looking for, what are our needs from an office standpoint that will better serve the membership, and can we better cut our operational costs as we're looking ahead. For those who do not know, we have leased our office building since we moved into the new office building. It's a sizeable lease and will increase beginning in the year 2000. If we're going to remain there in the present capacity, we're looking at ways we might be able to reduce that cost as well as the cost of what we used to call the Visitor's Center and is now called the Hall of Champions. Those two areas alone are an expense for the Association and I feel confident we're going to be able to reduce that expense through this Project 2000. Tied in with that, is looking to see what we can do in evaluating the synergy within the staff and the office climate and how we can increase that synergy as we look forward to 2000 and the new structure of the association.
I would like to close out with a discussion on student-athlete issues and I commend NACDA for its discussions it had yesterday. I enjoyed Dr. Hill's discussion on student-athletes yesterday and the panel that followed that. Talking about the welfare of the changing student-athlete today and those at the convention that were awake and listening to my comments at that point, will recall that I indicated the student-athlete today is not the same that was when Mike Lude, for sure, was competing or, many of us were competing. So it's important for us to look at that climate and I thought Dr. Hill's comments yesterday were on target as to that changing world of education and how does that effect the current student-athlete. A lot of the activities that have been going on the last year have certainly indicated a higher sensitivity to what is occurring with student-athletes today and that the membership is interested improving their welfare and addressing some of the issues at hand.
One, certainly, is the financial aid issue and that has come up through a number of committees. As Dr. Hill pointed out yesterday, the athletic grant-in-aid today is not as good as it used to be, and contrary to what most of the media talk about in terms of full aid or a lot of people even within higher education talk about, our grant-in-aid does not cover the cost of attendance to go to school. I think most of you are aware of that. There have been attempts the last two or three years to address that area specifically, and we are continuing to try to address that issue. That variance between the grant-in-aid in Division I, as an example, with the cost of attendance, ranges from about $1,800 to $2,400. We did provide the opportunity for those students who have full need to be able to receive up to that much through our legislation passed in January, but there's an awful lot of students that fall just below that need that also have a great need that I think we need to be concerned about. So, there's been a sensitivity, certainly within the Executive Committee and the Council, to see how we might better address the financial needs of student-athletes.
One way the Executive Committee approached that was with the new monies through the television contract to extend the Student Assistance Fund from three million dollars to $10 million on an annual basis, in an attempt to try to liberalize the usage of those funds for student-athletes today. Gene Smith headed a subcommittee of the Executive Committee to review ways that we might better our benefit package to student-athletes and when we got back to looking at all the alternatives, one way was to go all the way up to the cost of attendance with our grant-in-aid. There was a concern to perform whatever change that was made. So, the student assistance increase was certainly a way to address that and that's a rather significant increase, as you can see.
I was interested yesterday when Steve Spurrier responded to the benefit of the Student Assistance Fund. I think it has helped us on campuses. I would encourage you, because we still have a number of institutions who do not use those dollars, and use them only partially, I would encourage you to look at your programs and see if you're making best use for those funds because the people that are suffering from your not using those funds are the student-athletes. Many of them do have needs that can be met through that Student Assistance Fund. There has been, I think, increasing evidence, and the one now that was related in the paper this morning that will take about two minutes of my time, and maybe, I can just read it out of here, what we talked about, but the Agent and Professionalism Committee that has been looking at the agent issue, they've now met two times and will now have a meeting in the middle of July, and hopefully, to bring together some recommendations. They've spent a lot of time, one, educating itself, and two, looking at the breadth of the problem of the agent issue. They've talked about the fact that would increasing financial aid opportunities or the welfare of the student-athlete help resolve some of the agent issues. That's not been resolved. I'll say that to you, but it's, again, encouraging to me to see people not develop walls, to look at some of these issues with new paradigm thinking and we massage them and determine what's the impact.
That committee asked the staff to prepare two approaches to the agent issue. One, a more restrictive approach and one a more liberal approach and they have discussed that. We've had a number of outside consultants come in and talk about the issues. The College Commissioners Association came down with a concept at the last meeting as well as the NABC Board of Directors and coaches on some of these issues. One thing that we certainly have learned is that the agent issue is peculiar by sport or sport specific, if you will. The problems in basketball are different than the problems in football today and are different than the problems in baseball or ice hockey or any other sport where we see that occurring. We also certainly are aware that the agent issue does not begin with the window of intercollegiate athletics. That high profile athlete is already well indoctrinated into agent issues and into agents by the time they are in high school and that is a great concern.
The basketball coaches, as an example, have a real concern about some of the legislation that was passed in the early '90s and I think this is a good way to evaluate some of the pros and cons of some of the things that we did. We passed a number of pieces of legislation at that time to reduce costs, as you recall, in terms of when we would allow opportunities for evaluations and when we would have opportunities for recruitment times. We also did that with the good intention of reducing costs, one; and two, to create more time for those coaches to remain on campus and deal with their own student-athletes on the campus. What it has created, however, is a greater emphasis on summer camps run by AAU programs and it has taken away any of the mentor ship that is occurring with high school coaches and, in many cases, we find New York City is controlled by three people if you're recruiting. Some of the people in the audience can probably identify with that. You don't go to the student-athlete. You don't go to the coach. You go to one of those three members of the AAU that are running camps. We must look at how we change that and how we change the legislation and put it in perspective. They talked about whether or not, going back to the concept that was proposed some time ago, whether or not we should look at the NCAA running camps and then tying in with that, a strong educational program as it relates to agent issues and academic expectations, one concept that was thrown out.
Another concept that was thrown out which, obviously the media likes, is whether there is a way we can provide financial opportunities for those high profile athletes that would encourage them to stay disengaged from agents, and also hopefully, encourage them to remain in school. The one concept was whether or not taking those first round draft choices in professional sports and setting up loan programs through the particular professional sport that they could draw from and
pay back when they become drafted. The pros though, the NBA, the NFL, can tell you who the first-round draft choices are. There's no secrets on that. They can tell you how much they're going to make. There's no secret on that. Certainly, one of the problems with the agent issue is that kids, many times, receive misinformation and it would be better if we could help them in that educational process. But, would it make any sense to consider some kind of loan program that student-athlete in that caliber could draw from? Revolutionary idea? The USOC has been doing similar kinds of arrangements for years in other sports. So, it's not totally revolutionary, but it is one that causes a different kind of thinking. I'm not proposing that, I'm not advocating that. I'm suggesting that whatever we do, we keep our minds open. We think through it and again, thinking about the student-athlete of today compared to what it was when some of our rules were initiated. I'm excited about what I see happening with a number of our subcommittees. There are many changes that are occurring in intercollegiate athletics. There's changes in structure, governance and heightened sensitivity to the welfare of the student-athlete as we've talked about and as we see here. May we not find a comfort in not addressing changes and as Billy Payne quoted Nelson Mandella saying, "It is our light that frightens us." Is it the future thinking that frightens us? Is that why we're reluctant to look at change? I would hope not. May our light be the guiding beam to finding solutions to our issues at hand and I'm sure working together we can find new avenues that will continue to make intercollegiate athletics one of the best experiences our student-athletes can have.
Thank you for this opportunity. It's been a pleasure being here with you and I'll be here through the Convention, as well.