NCAA Division I - Breakout
Communication - A Key Component in the New Structure
(Monday, June 16, 10:15 - 11:45 a.m.)
Dave Hart, Jr.:
Good morning. Most of you are familiar with our panel representing the leadership in intercollegiate athletics today. Representing the presidents is Sam Smith, president at Washington State University; Dee Todd, assistant commissioner at the Atlantic Coast Conference; Bob Bowlsby, director of athletics at the University of Iowa; and Wright Waters, commissioner of the Southern Conference. Each of these people will speak to the communication necessary within our new governance structure to make it work.
We have a new structure that we think and hope will enable us to address issues in our industry and get resolutions to those issues in a much more timely fashion through the new structure which, all of you know, from the bottom up, consists of our cabinets, the Management Council and the Board of Directors. I'd like each of these people to speak to their views of how this will, in practice, work to make our association better, make it day-to-day better for our student-athletes and how we can enhance communication, not only internally, but to our external constituents.
I'd like to begin by asking Sam Smith, president of Washington State University to address our group. Sam.
Thank you very much. I'll make my comments this morning perhaps in a little broader context than my colleagues. It's always difficult when working on a panel not to steal the remarks of your colleagues. I apologize to whoever goes last because it's always the hardest on a panel like this. My comments will be made from the point of view of a CEO that's been involved in intercollegiate athletics for a number of years, but also as an individual who has studied organizations in the decision-making process.
If you're looking at the changes of some of the opportunities that we have facing us, we really need to go back and break them down along the lines about why we entered this whole restructuring in the first place. I think the keys to the organizational shifts in the communications lie in the initial basic goals we put forth. I'll comment on the three basic goals and under each one, comment a little bit about the communication and the opportunities for leadership.
If I could summarize, there are really three basic goals that precipitated a lot of the restructuring; first, was the greater CEO authority. If you look at the concept of institutional control, which has been basic to the philosophy of the NCAA since it's beginning, the greater CEO authority has a rationale that is compelling. Secondly, the restructuring gave us a greater federation. Yes, we have been federated for quite awhile. We've had degrees of federation over our entire existence. But, what we're trying to do is allow each division to concentrate on the issues that are unique to them and, at the same time, adhere to the basic philosophy of the NCAA. The third goal was to end up with a more simplified administrative structure. Basically, we're trying to clarify the decision-making authority and clear up the ambiguity of the Presidents Commission and the Council and Executive Committee. I had someone describe to me a normal or, what was a normal NCAA convention. Let me see if it sounds simple to you. This was a reporter and I know you have all dealt with reporters, some more happily than others. This young gentleman came to me and said, "Dr. Smith, let me double check. A normal convention, you put about 2,000 people in one room, many of whom have never had a self doubt in their life. You ask them to do several pieces of complicated legislation over a period of time. They don't like to vote the first time. There is always a period of reconsideration. Now, you feel that is perhaps not the most sufficient structure?" If you look at it carefully, folks, it probably was not the most sufficient structure. Indeed, there were some jokes about how efficient it was.
Let's take the three goals. First, the CEO authority. The key communications that are going to occur over the foreseeable future is going to be between the AD and the CEO on their campus. They will be the key communications link. The CEO is going to expect the same level and quality of communications from the AD as they would get from the vice president, a dean or another senior officer in the university. If I can make a comment, just mentioning something to a CEO while standing on the sidelines watching a football game does not constitute a valid form of communication. I've heard over the last several years, "Well, I mentioned to the CEO three years ago while standing at the basketball game."
Two other things. CEOs are a strange breed of people. CEOs have been trained to make decisions. They will make decisions and make them based on information you give them. Whether it's complete or not, they've been trained to take available data and move ahead.
Additionally, CEOs turn over rapidly, sometimes even more rapidly than ADs or football coaches. The average CEO in a Division I school lasts about 3.4 years. That key communication between the AD and the CEO has to be very cognizant of the level of quality and you also need a paper trail so that when the next one is there, you have some agreements.
Secondly, a greater federation. Once an issue is referred from the Management Council to the Board of Directors, particularly if it looks to be fairly simplistic, or if it looks to be consistent with policies the CEOs are familiar with in the rest of the university, they will probably move much more quickly than we currently would anticipate. It's going to require a more formalized communication system between the ADs. I would suggest that if you haven't got one already, it would be on an E-mail type of approach, because we're going to see a differentiation between the way issues are handled. Some of them will be handled very rapidly and others will languish.
The third comment is on the simplified administrative structure. Why this particular structure? CEOs of universities are used to working with a corporate-style organization. A corporate style of organization is what we've moved into. This is very good, very healthy and a very good way to go. But, please keep in mind, there are two basic formats for communication within a corporate style organization. First, it is formalized. That is what you do working through the cabinets, the Management Council, the Board of Directors. But, also, there is an informal communication structure and that is the one where the CEO is going to turn to their AD and say, "Rick, does this make sense to you?" It all comes back to that AD/CEO discussion that's going to have to occur on each campus.
Let me simply say that I'm very optimistic on how things are going. I'm very optimistic on how this has come together and, very frankly, I think we're looking forward to a very good future. I'll close my comments and I thank you for your attention.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
I would urge each of you to listen to what these people have to say and jot down, or, at least, make a mental note of questions you would like to ask after we've heard from all four panelists so we can engage in some good exchange of questions and answers about the new structure and that level of communication that is going to have to be present for it to be successful.
Our next panelist is Dee Todd, the assistant commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Thank you Dave. It is my pleasure to be here today to talk to you about a subject I enjoy doing, communicating. A few weeks ago, I went to my first Championships Competition Cabinet Meeting, and as I walked into the room, I realized I didn't know about half of the people in the room, among the 34 members. That, to me, was the first sign of the importance of what we're going to be discussing today.
As we discussed what the role of the cabinet would be and how we would execute our task, one word kept coming up, communication. As all of you know, in Division I, the conferences had approved respective members to represent us on the various cabinets, but it took a bit longer because gender and ethnicity had not been accomplished in the initial rounds of appointments. What does this mean and what does it have to do with the importance of communication? I believe, everything. Having to go through the process more than once was definitely an act of communication that was not being fulfilled.
I see a couple of problems with that. One, was defining goals. As I see it, goals are something that are usually accomplished over a period of time, whether it be short or long. Conferences were told they had a goal to reach, not that they had a quota to reach and so in the communication between the Board of Directors to the Management Council, somehow the conferences did not hear what they were asked to achieve. Secondly, I felt that initially everyone thought they had met the goals or had achieved goals because they had taken their assignments from here to here, but somewhere there was a space in here that was not achieved and we had to go back and redo it.
In order for individuals that are representing their conferences to be effective, I go back to the subject of communication. To communicate, you have to be able to talk and listen at the same time. It's like a ping pong game, it goes back and forth. Communication is 75 percent speaking and listening, so due to the diversity of the cabinets, communication becomes top priority in getting and receiving information. Diversity does not just include gender and ethnicity.
Under the new structure, people will have to communicate with people they are not used to communicating with. This is going to require a great deal of effort. I say this because we all have our comfort zones and they are usually a combination of many things like where you grow up, your religious and philosophical backgrounds, your education, your profession, your culture heritage, etc. Your comfort zone is unique and it makes you who you are, but it also requires you to be sensitive to others' comfort zones if you want to communicate with them more effectively. Most misunderstandings occur between individuals because individuals are communicating on different wave lengths.
The diversity of the new structure, especially in the cabinets, is going to include many people who have not been involved in conference meetings, people who have never been to an NCAA convention and don't know how the old structure went, have no athletics experience like your FARA and some with a great deal of experience like your athletics directors. Now, don't misunderstand me because what I'm saying about diversity is good, but I think it's going to take a period of time for it to really be good. I hope I'm wrong, but I think there are going to be some things that are going to slip through the cracks. But, over a period of time, the net of this is going to be very positive.
We also must understand there is a learning process and we will need to take time for individuals that are not involved in the day-to-day athletics issues and we need to help them. We need to involve them. We should encourage them to ask for clarity. You can say it's okay if you don't understand. People who have new experiences do bring new approaches to ideas. We need to allow them to express those ideas. But, we also must understand that no one has ownership of an idea. If your conference has taken a position, you must represent what the conference wants. Your personal opinion may very well be different and you will have an opportunity to share it, but your vote must be that of the people that you represent. That's going to be very important because I think we all like to put our two cents in, but we have to represent the majority of the people we are representing on this panel or in the cabinet.
This can be difficult sometimes because of the individual comfort zones. The experienced people should allow questions and be patient, tolerable. You're going to have to say that some questions are dumb, but you have to say that to yourself. Keep in mind the net of this is very positive. The inexperienced people will have to open up, ask questions, network, reach out to key people who have experience in things they are experiencing now and develop relationships with these people.
To follow up on what I'm saying in the beginning about mis communication is that we're going to have to talk and listen at the same time. There are going to be meetings, conference calls and the communication between those meetings and calls are going to be essential. Conferences are going to have to take the time and think through how they're going to communicate through the cabinets and through their conference. We're going to have to open the lines of communication between the Board of Directors, the Management Council and the cabinets. By the fact that the Management Council had to go back to Division I-A and changed what they thought they heard from the Board of Directors, obviously, something wasn't clear. We must make sure our lines of communication are clear and that they must be maintained.
If you look at the way the NCAA is dealing with Division I now, you can get some ideas. For example, they make sure every conference gets all of the agendas. The Board of Directors and the Management Council should make sure that the conferences get their agendas. The agendas of the cabinets should also be forwarded to the conferences. If there's a legislative issue, the athletics directors and compliance officers may want to get together on a conference call. Each conference should establish a way of communicating with each other and every time they communicate, remember that they are speaking and listening.
We have empowered people that are coming from various backgrounds and we must remember that information is power. Sharing information is power. Until we open the lines of communication, we do not have power. Remember, there is no more one institution/one vote, but many institutions, two votes or many institutions, one vote. Therefore, I can't stress enough the importance of communication. Thank you.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
Thank you Dee. Our next speaker and one of my peers from the University of Iowa, where he is the director of athletics and highly respected, Bob Bowlsby.
Good morning. Most people around the country and around my city now know that I'm involved in the Management Council. They ask me what have we done? I've been involved since the formulation of the plan, through the transition Management Council, several months of the officially seated Management Council and I think it's a good question. What have we done? There are other times when I consider the daunting nature of what we have undertaken and I hold my head and say, "What have we done?" It is a major change. It is a daunting task. It's one that I know people up here take very seriously as do those of you in the audience that are involved in it. I know we have a lot of people involved in it. Basically, we've eliminated or subsumed about 30 associational committees, seated four cabinets and, in some cases, subdivided those cabinets. We've flushed out a framework over the last six or eight months that we hope will allow us to start in August and get the job done. One of the things we're doing right now, is that there are 100, perhaps even 1,000 little things that either were unanticipated going into this process or couldn't be managed in any other way than to wait until we get to this point in the process and then have to deal with them.
Fundamentally, what are we doing? Well, the question is, how can we be better? We made the change because we think the association could be better through a representative form of governance rather than one institution/one vote. How can we simplify, clarify, deregulate, modernize what it is that the NCAA has been and how can it be better in the future? How can we configure the association so that fundamentally, we are looking at its core values and its core businesses and so that we can cut away some of the dead wood that has kept us from moving as efficiently and as appropriately, on some occasions, as we hope that the new structure will allow us to do?
Restructuring is not about a shift in power or authority. Although, I'm sure that reasonable people can disagree that has happened and to some extent, it has. It is now true, however, that those institutions and conferences that have brought the most in the way of traditional and financial equity to the table now have a lot more to say about what they're doing. That applies to almost all of Division I. More than anything else, it isn't just about that shift in authority or power, it's about being more responsive to our membership. Communication is a big part of that responsiveness. It's not only responsiveness to member institutions, but it's responsiveness to student-athletes in particular.
The NCAA, in its many forms, has been viewed as this ogre in Kansas City that is very difficult to move, almost impossible to get an answer out of, on some occasions. Most of the public viewed the organization as something far different from an aggregation of the interests of its members. It is with a lot of enthusiasm that I think I speak for all of us up here and I know those of you involved out there, we venture forth with a renewed enthusiasm for this task. It is a big thing to get our arms around. As Dee said, as Sam said, communication is fundamental to what we're doing. More than anything else, we want this new system to be inclusive, not exclusive.
Institutions and conferences need to be able to have access to this process, and as we move toward efficiency, we need to communicate what it is we're going to try and accomplish. We need to make sure that people understand what the issues are. We need to make sure that conferences and institutions have access, but we also need to make sure that the NABC and the AFCA and the WBCA and other organizations of like interests have access. One of the things we said about restructuring was that we wanted to have a more homogenous group. We wanted to be able to have Division I issues settled by Division I people. We wanted to be able to do the things for ourselves, or to ourselves, that relate directly back to those calling the shots that have the most to gain or lose.
We, even in the Division I group of the Management Council now, there have been some issues that we've had to communicate fairly abruptly and directly on, but they've not been divisive issues at this point in time. At least, I don't believe that's been the case. I think we're now poised and prepared to move on and try and get about the business that we reconfigure to do.
One of the best things I see about the new structure, and if affects everybody in this room, and that is, that athletics administrators, both men and women, big schools and small schools, are back at the table of governance. As President Smith said, "It is great that we've got the commitment from CEOs for ongoing involvement and ongoing participation in this process." Speaking purely from a Big Ten perspective, this is the first time we have had a representative at what would be the corresponding organization to the old NCAA Council. This is the first time we've had an athletics administrator at that table in probably 30 years. It's been a long time. Having athletics administrators back at the table, men and women, people who are in the trenches every day, is a fundamentally important part of restructuring.
That's where the best communication can take place, not only upwards to CEOs and institutional representatives at the highest level, but down through the staff, as well. I see that as a very positive thing. The fact that we can insure presidential leadership and ongoing involvement is a huge part of it.
We've got lots of agendas. We've got the initial eligibility clearing house, basketball recruiting proposals, agents and amateurism, bowl system versus the playoffs system. How does the new system work? I don't have any idea. We're not going to know until we get moving on August 1. How well will the structure facilitate communication? Well, I don't know that the structure is going to. I think we're going to have to make sure it works. We're going to have to make sure the communication takes place in ways we're happy with. How long will it take for a proposal to get through the machinery? We're still fleshing that out and it's another six weeks until this actually gets going. We don't have any idea how long it's going to take, but we know it's going to take less time than what it was taking before. How many proposals can we review at an individual meeting? I haven't the vaguest idea, but I guess it's a lot fewer than I think we're going to be able to handle.
The only thing I can tell you is that, with regard to the Management Council, and I'm sure this is true for the Board and the cabinets, as well, we've got 34 people who are committed, trustworthy, experienced and hard working volunteers that are going about the task at hand. It's a tremendous group, people of goodwill that are very committed to making this work, making the communication work, making the legislative process work and making the management of the association work. We're looking, quite frankly, for some low hanging fruit we can pick early in this process, see how it all works, see how the communications work back to the membership and make sure we're getting on down the path to putting this in place in a way that is responsive to all of you and the various constituents that you serve back on your campus.
Communication is fundamentally important and I know I speak for all of the people that are in leadership positions within the new governance structure, we want to hear from you. We want to communicate. There's an opportunity through your conferences, but there're also direct opportunities, as well. Call on us if we can be of any assistance. I know the new system is going to work because there are an awful lot of great people involved in making it work. Thank you.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
Our final panelist today will bring us the perspective of a commissioner, Wright Waters, the commissioner of the Southern Conference.
Thanks Dave. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. First of all, let me tell you this story. As an association, we are tremendously fortunate to have President Smith in his position at this critical time of the focus of the NCAA. We really have the right person at the right time in this and we appreciate it. Bob, it may have been 30 years since the Big Ten had an appointment on the Council from an athletics administrator, but they have the right one there now. For all of us, we appreciate it. Dee, the work on the cabinet will be tremendous. You have a challenge ahead of you.
I want to pick up on a couple of things that were said. First of all, I think President Smith did a great job of talking about the institutional flow of information and decision-making. It's going to have to take the campus and define on the campus where the decisions are made, whether it be athletics director to president, whether it be athletics director and faculty rep working together, whatever that combination is on campus, we must have the ability to come up with an institutional position.
There are some other things Bob said that I want to pick up on. He said, "This has to be an inclusive, not exclusive government." It's got to identify, not only on the campus all of the constituency groups that have a piece of this, our coaches have got to be involved. We've got to call on the very best, most knowledgeable people when we are in the decision-making process.
Where does the conference fit in this? First of all, what defines the role of a conference in the new governance? NCAA Bylaw 421 very clearly defines the makeup of the Board and it speaks to representatives of conferences. 451 defines the makeup of the Management Council and it defines it by conference representation. The membership that represents the conference represents the conference's view. Remember that 42321 speaks to the conferences' ability to remove a member of the Board of Directors during their term. 45321 allows a conference to remove, during the term, a Management Council representative. This was absolutely critical that this is in there because these people who are representing us now are no longer representatives of themselves or their institutions, but they're representatives of their conference. They are going to have to come back to the conference table and explain their votes and their actions to the conference.
What necessitates the involvement of the conference? 53241 speaks to the 30-day notice prior to legislation action. 53242 speaks to the 60-day comment period afterwards. 5325 describes the method of notification and it simply speaks that the conference will be notified and the institution will be notified, not a particular individual.
That's not terribly different from what we've had with the convention where a notice came out, institutional positions were formed. Understand that 532213 speaks to emergencies becoming effective immediately and grants that power. 5411 talks about the appropriate committee able to make interpretations between meetings. All of us have been in this business long enough to know the advantage is in receiving timely information.
So, what's the role of a conference office? I'm here to tell you that the conference office has a new role and that is the accurate dissemination of information is a timely manner. The key words are that it's a new role and that it's accurate and it has to be timely. Both are absolutely critical to the communication. How will the conference offices accomplish this new responsibility? It will probably vary from conference to conference, but the good news is, there is technology out there now that we're all going to have to tune into whether that be Internet, E-mail, teleconferencing, private Web sites, whatever the answer is, it's got to be accurate and it's got to be timely. There also has to be a flow of information.
What must happen for a conference, which is a collection of institutions, to become effective in the new governance? Number one, your commissioners, absolutely, without question, must be in touch with their membership. They've got to know the hot spots on each campus and they've got to have a sensitivity to the needs of the member-institutions that pay their salaries. They've got to be able to convey the thoughts of their conference to other conferences because, ultimately, it will be a collection of conference votes that sets the direction of the NCAA in years ahead. The commissioner is going to have to become the designated watchdog for the institutions.
Already, the amount of paper that is coming out of this process is such that commissioners are going to have to cipher through it, if you will, and take and boil it down to those hot spot issues that affect your campus. If an issue comes up that your commissioner knows has an impact or a sensitivity to your institution, they've got to be able to pick up a phone and say, "Hey, how does this impact you and what are your feelings on this?" Make sure that you are aware of these issues.
Communications have to be timely and they've got to flow both ways. The institutions have to flow to the conference office and the conference office has got to make sure that this information reaches them. I can speak to the Southern Conference and what we have tried to do already. We're creating a private portion of our Web page that will be accessed only to our membership. We anticipate doing two things. Number one, taking this private Web page and posting this information in a timely manner and then having in there the ability for the membership to vote on a particular issue. We can compile that and formulate a conference position. Secondly, we've taken our Management Council representatives and we've insured that they have technology through notebook computers so that they can communicate directly with the membership and with the conference office too.
With all of that said, the good news is, we have the expertise, we have the technology and probably, the most important thing, is that on each of our campuses, we've got experience to make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot and we're able to take this great association of ours and move it forward in the years to come. Thank you.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
We would like to engage you in this conversation. When we first began to talk about the new governance structure, there were a lot of questions, concerns, maybe a little apprehension and also some excitement that we were leaving an antiquated structure and moving toward one that would serve us in this industry and everyone in it much better. In any transition, there are a lot of hurdles to clear. With that said and with each of
the panelists having made their presentation and their perspectives from the groups they represent, we'd like to have some questions now from the audience.
I'd like you to step to the microphones and ask anything that might be on your mind.
From the Floor:
Question was inaudible.
We have envisioned there are going to be certain issues that will come from the direction above us, down from the Board of Directors that will come with fairly specific instructions as to the treatment they should receive. There will be others that come up through the structure that may get to us in some sort of terminal form, or they may come forward with prejudice from the committee or from the cabinet from which they emanate. I think there will be others that will be brought to the table by Management Council representatives that will be prioritized and dealt with on a need basis.
Right now, there are a variety of avenues and conduits through which issues are going to come before us. Some are going to be referred. Some are going to be referred to a cabinet or a committee. Others will be dealt with right there. Some of it depends upon the committee that would logically handle that issue. As I mentioned, we have eliminated more than 30 association committees. Some are association-wide, some are Division I specific, but it will depend on the issue, where it starts out and it will also depend on where it came from in the first place.
From the Floor:
Question was inaudible.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
Sam, I'll try to recap what Barbara is getting at since the microphone is not turned on. Her question is at the heart of the reporting lines on our individual institutions particularly relating to the reporting line of the director of athletics to the president, or in some instances, the director of athletics may report to a vice president.
The communication on a campus becomes critical. Let me talk about the communications and then let me back into the reporting line. Every campus is different in the way they communicate relative to intercollegiate athletics. On our campuses, we have a group of individuals, the faculty athletics rep plays a key role, the senior women's administrator plays a key role and the AD plays a key role. The AD, obviously, would have the strongest role. The most direct the input can be to the CEO, the better.
Every campus is going to have their own rituals or communications as to how they operate. In going through the process, the AD should, as much as possible, have direct communication with the CEO. Whether it's a reporting line or not, that's up to the institution. But, the AD, the faculty athletics rep, the senior women's administrators, at some point, have to be working directly with the CEO.
We all know that some reporting lines are real and some are not. The CEO has to be engaged. We have the AD report directly to the president in our case. I happen to think that's a better model. Frankly, I think it's a model that fits where we are going.
From the Floor:
Question was inaudible.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
The question from the floor is to have Sam or Bob review the frequency that these groups will meet.
In the case of the Management Council, there will be quarterly meetings. We meet the end of July and again in October and again at the NCAA meetings in January and again in April. That's one of the things that's yet to be determined. Some progress has been made as to how the various cabinets schedule their meetings to appropriately feed into the Management Council meetings so that we can then feed into the Board of Directors meetings. Four times a year is envisioned and it could end up being more than that as the need arises.
It's envisioned on these quarterly meetings that the cabinets do their business prior to the Management or during the Management Council meetings. The Management Council completes its business prior to the Board of Directors meeting. We're trying to assure, because of all the overlap between the Division I Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, to have Executive Committee meetings immediately following the Board of Directors meetings. Hopefully, it will go cabinets, Management Council, Board of Directors, Executive Committee.
We also going to be encouraging Division II and Division III to have their council meetings at the same time, or at the same location, where the Division I is meeting. Although, the actual policies call for a minimum of one same-site meeting for all of the Management Councils and the Board of Directors and the Presidents Councils, we would like to actually have more, if it's possible to do so, just to increase the flow in communications. The more closely we can keep the Board of Directors and Executive Committee working together at the same site, the better off we're going to be.
One thing that is very apparent that one of you might want to address, is the level of time, the level of commitment, on the part of those people who are going to serve on these cabinets, the Management Council and on the Board of Directors. It's going to be an inordinate commitment of time. I know at the conference level, we spend a good bit of time talking about that element and how we can help, from a conference perspective, with those people who are making this commitment of time. Both Dee and Bob have referenced the volume of paperwork that is presently crossing their desks as members of those units and maybe somebody could address that.
I'm a member of the Championships Competition Cabinet and we had a meeting last month and we'll be having another meeting this Thursday, and under that cabinet in particular, there are so many sports committee groups and other association-wide groups under that cabinet, that we decided we would have two more meetings before the end of 1997. We would then try to coordinate our meetings around the Management Council meeting so we could meet before them.
Right now, just in the last month since our first cabinet meeting, I've gotten on the average of two phone calls a day about something concerning that cabinet. Then, I got a nice agenda last week about two inches thick that we'll be discussing on Thursday, so it is a lot of time.
From the Panel:
The time demands are going to be incredible. We've seen, even with the transition of the Management Council of a year ago, it's going to be absolutely critical that your institutions have an appreciation for the commitment you're making to the national association. All of us, over the years, have seen people who have gotten so far into the commitment to the national association, they've forgotten what their jobs are and what they got paid for.
Sit down and have an honest heart-to-heart talk with the CEO on your campus and have an understanding about time. Bob, I know you did that with your CEO, you might want to speak to that.
Actually, our president and I visited about it and the only accommodation I got was that she wouldn't actually fire me while I was out of town. Quite the contrary is true, our institution has been very supportive of it and they need to be. It's important work that's being done, but there are some instances that suffer on campus. Three of us have made the comment about how time consuming it is and part of that is only envisioning how time consuming it may be.
It is vitally important that athletics administrators, directors, senior women's administrators and others who can access the process continue to be involved. This next generation of appointments on the Management Council and on the cabinets are going to be terrifically important. There are going to be people who will step up and take the spots if athletics administrators don't take them.
It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of having athletics directors, athletics administrators on the firing line in this governance structure. It brings a perspective that this system will not work without that perspective. I encourage all of you, and you encourage all of your colleagues, to participate in this because it's going to be important this first time around and it's going to be even more important around in terms of numbers of appointment.
I know these are major time commitments, but if you look at the new structure, if you look at the Management Council and the cabinets, this is where we need the professional front line people involved in intercollegiate athletics in their making the recommendations and the decisions about what is forwarded. They must count on the fact that they have some of the best experienced people in the cabinet and in the Management Council that have thought it through. If we don't have the best people in the cabinet and in the Management Council, we're going to have a problem, because we're counting on that happening.
I'm going to talk about the time on the CEO end. This has actually been less of a problem that we've anticipated. There's been an interesting side line though, intercollegiate athletics likes to meet. They like to meet and over a one-hour meeting does not seem to appeal. A two or three day meeting with golf seems to be more the pattern. One of the biggest things we had to promise the CEOs is that we would condense these meetings. We didn't care if it wasn't the prettiest place in the U.S. or not, but we needed to condense them, centralize them and have them wherever possible, brief as they could be.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
Are there any other questions? A question from the floor was about the move of the national office to Indianapolis and how that might impact this whole process.
I'm delighted to report, first of all, that this issue was taken out of the Executive Committee's hands early in the process. As I understand and President Smith was involved in it, but the move actually won't take place until 2000. If we're still muddling through this process by the time that move is made, we've got a whole new set of problems. That's one answer to it.
The second answer is I think we're going to see, in the next six months to a year, certainly, a slow down in the legislative flow cumulatively that we've had in the past. That might be good. I want to tell you now, that when a school calls me now and asks for a recruiting rule, there was a time when I could give a shot from the hip and felt pretty good about. I have to check the manual now. A little slow down might be good.
I'm not terribly concerned about that move. That we'll overcome.
First of all, Wright is absolutely right on. Going through the process, if you go back about two years, there was a very serious set of discussions about the financial structure of the NCAA and the headquarters operation. Was it operating in a manner that was most beneficial to the members? I emphasize to the members versus to the headquarters office itself.
As we went through the process, we recognized the fact that a restructuring was going on. We discussed this at considerable length. We also brought in Arthur Anderson. Many of you are familiar with this organization. They have a specialty division that works with the relocation of national headquarters, national offices. Working through this whole process with them, it probably is to the association's advantage that the restructuring and the move are going on at the same time.
It would be an advantage from the point of view that when you're making one set of changes, a second set of changes can be adapted to be beneficial. As we go through this process, we may find that we need an individual with particular capabilities in communications or public relations. As we're making the move, this is a time to add that person. We might also find that we don't need a person with specific capabilities. We will be looking at the budget next week. We have to make sure there is enough flexibility in the budget so that if people need to be added in the interim period, this can be done.
There has been a lot of discussion and controversy about the actual move itself. We started through the process, had an unbelievable amount of data to work with, and narrowed it down from about 50 cities, to about 16, to about four to two. It came down to, very frankly, that if you looked at the amounts of money and the amounts of service that could be provided to the members, it became a very clear decision that we would make the move.
It's not easy for any office to move. Indeed, this was a traumatic shock to many of the ones in the national office. As we went through that process, we wanted to minimize that shock. There's no question. But also, we want to make sure that five or 10 years out, the NCAA has the best service to the membership with the best financial conditions
possible. I have a lot of faith in the NCAA staff. Once they get through this process, I think they'll be very supportive and work with us.
I'm not real popular in Kansas City right now, so we won't be having meetings in Kansas City for a few months. We'll probably meet out here on the west coast. Next week, we will look at the budget and see what funds are necessary to make sure this move of the office is handled in a positive venue to facilitate the restructuring.
Dave Hart, Jr.:
On behalf of all of us, I want to thank our four panelists for participating today in what is a critical element within the transition to our new governance structure. I also want to remind all of you to try to stop by and visit with our exhibitors who have come from many different locales to be with us. Thank you very much.