Junior/Community Colleges - Breakout
Challenge of Being a Community College AD Today & Tomorrow
(Monday, June 16, 10:15 - 11:45 a.m.)
I'd like to get our session started. My name is John Stauff from Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey. I'd like to, on behalf of the fair city of Las Vegas, welcome you to the city. It's a pleasure seeing so many bright and smiling faces, especially after the last two days of meetings in the NATYCCA area. I feel good you've been able to make it here today. We have a panel of speakers with us who will be able to help you.
Today's breakout session, the first one of the Convention, is as an athletics director facing the challenges being a junior/community college athletics director today and tomorrow as we take a look at what's out there. In the year 2001, we'll be entering a new millennium, which is scary in itself, but as we have heard the last few days, some of the things that are happening in the two-year sector are things that we have to be prepared to meet and try to get our programs strong enough and positive enough to withstand those challenges.
We have speakers today that represent the entire nation, more or less. From the east coast to the west coast and to the far west. We're very happy to have them. We'd like to start off by introducing our first speaker, Lori Mallory, who is from Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Lori's background is an extensive one. Many of you know Lori. She was a former staff member of the NJCAA, former executive director of the Florida Community Activity Association. She currently is the assistant dean of physical education at Johnson County and director of athletics. Lori holds her bachelor's degree from Bethel College in Kansas and has an MS in sports administration from Wichita State. Please welcome Lori Mallory.
Lori did not step up to the microphone for a portion of her talk.
In summary, what have we learned over the last few years? For me, I've learned that every day is a learning experience and every day I must continue to not treat my job as an athletics director like I would have 10 years ago. People, it's a business. You have to be professional. You have to keep up your skills in order to survive. No one is really going to care if your team wins or loses, not to say they don't really care, but if you're over budget by one million dollars every year because you can't manage your budget, or if you're asked to do a report because the auditor tells the president, "I think something is going on in the athletics department," and you can't produce documentation that says we're not doing that and you can't produce it in a timely manner, we're going to find out in a hurry just what kind of business we're in. We are under the gun. We are into scrutiny.
We must continue to go to seminars such as this. Some of the best seminars you all can attend have nothing to do with athletics. Think about that. How many of you have attended a conference in the last five years unrelated to athletics? Not very many of us. There are all kinds of things out there that can help us to be better.
Where can we get more information? Where do we find avenues for more professional development? The Internet is incredible for finding ways to go to other conferences. Your own college has a list of things your business people attend. In technology, find somewhere that has good technology education. Learn how to use some of the tools to make you better in your job.
I know everything I've told you. You are all doing well. We're all good athletics administrators. All of the areas on that wheel, we are totally efficient at. If you are, I'd like to hire you because you'll make me look better. I'm not efficient at all of those things. We all have interests in what we like to do, so we forget about the other things.
Any of those resources that you see in the handout, or if we need more handouts, let me know, we'll go make some right now. On any of those data bases, I'd be glad to send you the disk. It was inexpensive and we own it. You don't need to recreate any of those. They're done.
We'll get some more of those handouts to anyone who didn't receive one. Our next speaker will be John Jackson from Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts. It's a two-year school. John has been the athletics director there for the past nine years. He's spent the last 17 years at Dean College. Currently, he's the women's region director for Region 21, New England Region and serves as the chair of the National Women's Soccer Committee. John has spent 10 years as a basketball coach at Dean. John has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree. It's with great pleasure that I welcome John Jackson.
A couple of comments first. I'm sure you have all seen Lori's handout. Now, here is my handout and you can write on it very easily. I would like to congratulate Vinnie Cullen on 600 wins. I did coach basketball against Vinnie and about 16 of those wins came at my expense.
I always enjoy coming to conferences like this because I get a chance to meet other colleagues. Mike Jacobsen had a good comment yesterday, "if you could take one thing back with you from this conference, it's well worth the money." I find the interaction between us as colleagues is sometimes much more important than some of these seminars. I'm going to approach my talk as more of an interaction on types of things that you might find happening at your school.
We're a private school and there are some differences in issues between my school and yours. Sometimes I become envious of other programs and what they have at their schools. On the other hand, I sometimes am able to go back to my coaches and say we're very lucky with what we have. Those are good things that all come out of conferences.
As a private school, our tuition is a little bit more expensive. That does create the riches. We have no county or state funds to draw on. Our alumni donor base is not as strong because many alumni that do graduate from Dean and go on to their four-year schools end up giving their alumni dollars back to their four-year schools. I know sometimes these county and state funds have been reduced. Colleges are fighting to make that up. You're starting to feel some of the pressure that we feel being, traditionally, tuition-based.
We have residence halls. Sometimes that is a big help. Sometimes it can be a big hindrance. My residence director asked me about putting all of the athletes into one residence hall. I told him, absolutely not. For one reason, if something happens in there, there's only one group who will get blamed. Number two, I like the athletes to interact with the general student body.
We have a larger student recruiting base. We don't just recruit locally. We can't. We wouldn't survive. We have to recruit regionally, nationally and, sometimes, internationally with a very small recruiting budget. We don't find the community support that maybe a community college might feel because many of our athletes don't come from a surrounding area. We don't get coverage in the local newspapers as much unless we have a local student who is doing well at our school. But, 40 percent of our student population comes from the state of Massachusetts. The second state is New York, almost two states away. We get students from Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida. I can relate to what Jim Harvey was saying yesterday. Somebody might ask why a Florida kid would want to come to New England. One of the reasons is they can't get into their community colleges due to the testing programs. We find they come to Massachusetts, get an associate's degree and then go back down to Florida. That is happening more and more. We're getting more and more Florida kids coming to Massachusetts for that reason.
I'm going to highlight some of the problem areas I find as an athletics director at a two-year school. One is recruiting, which I just touched upon. A larger student base at our school requires more resources, more manpower. We're having to do it with more part-timers. Some sports make it easier to recruit. You probably have found that football is easier to recruit. High school football coaches have college fairs just for football. Soccer and baseball have all-star games. Not every sport is easy to recruit. Some sports are easier than others.
Part-time coaches can only travel so far. They have full-time jobs. They cannot travel out of state unless they take a full weekend. They can't take weeks at a time to recruit in other states. In New England, we're still finding the pool of high school graduates is not growing and it's not going to grow for another 10 years. So, our base of high school recruits in New England is smaller. I know out west and in the south, it's getting larger. Recruiting is becoming a tougher problem each passing year.
Another big problem is full-time versus part-time coaches. We all would agree that full-time coaches would be the way for every one of our programs. But, as we replace full-time people with part-time coaches, we are faced with the issue such as part-time coaches don't have that vested interest in the school that a full-time coach would have. Sometimes, you aren't able to hire the most qualified coach, but you have to hire the person most available. The person who is available in the afternoons, can take that away trip, can leave their job at l:00 p.m. so they can make an afternoon game. That's hard. They lack that academic emphasis we're all trying to promote. They're not at the school every day. We monitor the kid's grades every three weeks. Sometimes we have to tell a coach they can't play this week because they're not doing well academically. Well, a part-time coach sometimes doesn't understand. A full-time coach does. They're there every day and they're teaching every day and they value the academic emphasis.
Part-timers aren't available for recruits during normal academic hours. Admissions will call over and ask if the soccer coach is available at ll:00 a.m. on Tuesday. No, because it's a part-time coach. I usually end up talking to them myself as the athletics director. Eventually, that recruit wants to talk to a coach and that's harder with a part-time coach.
The budgets are shrinking. Everyone is feeling the budget crunch. If they say you're going to be level funded, that's a budget cut because officials aren't going to accept lower fees or level fees. They go up every year. Travel goes up every year. Equipment goes up every year. So, budgets are becoming a big problem. Many times, we spend more time validating the reason we need the money than we do administering it. Budget managers are the same and they always ask, "why do you need this money?" We spend a lot of time and effort which I find sometimes wasted, because hopefully, they should rely on us as the experts.
There are different budget philosophies for each college. I'm in one now where if you don't spend it, you lose it. I find that a poor way to monitor a budget because it forces you to spend money you might not actually need. Again, philosophy of the budget is very important. I would recommend to those people to acquire a large inventory because someday that money might not be there and you might have an inventory that is behind.
Another big area, and we've tried to touch base on this in our region, is the promotion of the value and the positives of a junior/community college athletics program and athletes. In Region 21, we have an ad hoc committee now and we're looking at a possible regional newsletter, where an athletics director in our region would write up all the positives about athletes or teams in our region. Send it to all of the presidents so they can view the positive aspects of our programs on a regular basis. Include sports information about contests in athletics.
We have one of the top sports papers in the country, the Boston Globe, but they will only post two-year schools' scores. That's all they'll post. They won't post line scores, conference standings, they'll only the post the scores. So, you'll have to do other things in order to make sure you get your name in the papers. There are a lot of local papers, but again, sometimes they'll only cover you if you have a local athlete. In our area, sometimes we don't.
Community service is something many of our teams are doing. You have to promote what they're doing so the public sees that the community college and junior college athlete doesn't always get only negative publicity. You have to promote it because only we will know it if we don't.
Some possible solutions I have viewed as things we can do for the future. For example, I've seen some four-year schools hire full-time athletics recruiters/coaches. Basically, they are coaches who are recruiting for the whole program. They go on the road. Recently, there was a school in Vermont who hired a soccer coach. The actual title was director of soccer. Whoever was the head coach was the full-time person. Let's say the full-time person was the men's soccer coach. That person would supervise the whole program, men and women. That person would hire a part-time women's soccer coach. That person would also go on the road and recruit, not only for soccer, but for all of the athletics programs bringing back prospective names so that the coaches could then take those names and recruit them either through letters or phone calls. That's one of our big problems. We need more prospects and that's one way that could happen. We're trying to do that at our school. I talked to a couple of colleagues about that and they thought it would be a great idea. We have one full-time athletics recruiter who goes on the road and recruits for all sports. In a private school, it's very important, but I think it would be advantageous at a community college. One of the plus sides I see is that this person can bring back the names to all of the part-time coaches who don't have that availability to go on the road.
Lori touched base on technology. We are fortunate our president believes in having technology. Every one of our coaches has a computer at their desk. We are on the Internet so they have that access. You have to teach them and not just put the computer on the desk. Some of them are afraid to use it; you have to train them. Now, you can simply sit at your desk, punch up your access code and get recruits right off the Internet. The students pay the fee to the service and you get free access to them. There are about three or four out there. Some you have to pay for and some are free. We're creating our own Web page. On that Web page, we're going to have an athletics area. When we develop the athletics area, I'm hoping to put a questionnaire right on that Web page so they can gain access to that questionnaire.
Concerning the budget again, I've standardized a lot of equipment. For example, sweat suits. Almost every program had their own sweat suit. I said, "No more." If you lose one, you can't buy three or six. We've standardized sweat suits for men's and women's soccer, field hockey, basketball and tennis. They all use the same sweat suit. We put "Dean Athletics" on the suit and utilize that for many sports. At the end of the year, we can fill in very quickly. On travel and equipment bags, again, not putting the team name on it and put only the athletic name. You can use it for many different sports and make your budget dollar go a lot further.
Internal and external communications for promotion purposes is using E-mail for faculty and alumni. We don't have a sports information director. You're looking at him. It's another one of my hats. We bought a fax machine with broadcast capabilities. At the end of the game, we fill out a form and it has everything a newspaper would want including an area for comments. A coach can put that through the fax. I have all of the newspapers on one button. They can put the form in, press one button and walk away. It is sent to seven newspapers. Now, all of the scores get into the paper.
Our region has recently purchased a fax machine with the same capabilities for a service bureau director. When he acquires all of the service news on Tuesday mornings, we will have that information back to us on Tuesday afternoon. All I have to do now is put all of the reports on the fax, push one button and it will be faxed to every school in the region. Again, we're trying to use the technology that's out there.
We also promote our athletics program with our faculty. We put out what we call a Sports Log. I got the idea from the Boston Globe. It's blurbs about stories from throughout the country. We post our standings, what has happened during the past week, upcoming home games and we put in little blurbs about athletes who have done well during the past week. We send it over the E-mail system and the faculty really appreciates it. We put extra copies out for the students to pick up. Again, use the technology that's out there.
I've gone through four presidents in six years. We touched base on this in our meetings yesterday. Every president is different. I spend a lot of time validating what I'm doing. I've had to do a football survey, a part-time salary survey, a participation survey, a withdrawal survey, a graduation survey, all within the last year. Documentation is very important. It's one of the things we need to do because you're going to need the information sooner or later. It's better to have it now than to be asked for it later on.
Hopefully, some of these ideas can be used at your schools. I call them new ideas to survive and thrive. Thank you.
Thank you John. I've been coming to these meetings for years and I've never seen anybody have their picture taken as many times as you did. I don't know what it is. Our third speaker this morning is Aracely Mora. She is the athletics director at Irvine Valley College in California. Prior to coming to Irvine, Aracely was at Long Beach in California. During that time, she coached volleyball, softball and basketball and also served in the capacity of activities director, athletics director and assistant principal. Currently, she is an active member of the California Community College Association of Academic Advisors for Athletes and is very involved in their academic developmental programs. Aracely has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from California State University at Long Beach. Her doctorate focused on academic support programs for community college student-athletes. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Aracely Mora.
Thank you and good morning. First of all, a little bit about California community colleges. We are non scholarship institutions for athletics. Our tuition is $13 per unit. We have 106 community colleges in California and of the 106 colleges, 101 offer intercollegiate athletics programs. Our governing organization is the Commission on Athletics. I have been the athletics director at Irvine Valley College for six years. In the six years, I have had the opportunity to serve under two presidents and three interim presidents. It says a little bit about the stability of our presidents.
By the end of last year, it became evident that California community colleges were in a period of changing times. The changing times have not been necessarily kind to athletics directors. Downsizing, re-engineering and restructuring have affected many athletics directors and athletics programs in the state of California. For example, some athletics director positions have been changed from management to faculty. Others have added coaching components to the position and others have assumed additional managerial duties over other division or campus services. As a result, tremendous challenges and problems have been created for athletics directors who are trying to deal with the multifaceted responsibilities of the position.
For the past few years, due to coaching conflicts, lack of reassigned time, lack of funding or because of other responsibilities on their campuses, many California community college athletics directors have not been attending Commission on Athletics meetings, athletics directors meetings or athletics directors conferences and conventions. The lack of athletics director involvement within the Commission on Athletics and within the athletics directors organization has been a problem which led to the formation of a task force following the May 1996 California Community College Athletics Directors Convention in Lake Tahoe.
The task force met several times to develop recommendations regarding the role of athletics directors within the Commission on Athletics. From the task force emerged recommendations regarding the position of the athletics director. The first handout I have given to you is a list of the responsibilities of the athletics director. What the task force did was to solicit input from across the state to try to determine what it was that athletics directors were doing. As we look up on the overhead, the first thing the task force wanted to determine was why was this participation lacking? Why was it that we were not experiencing the type of involvement we thought was necessary to be a viable and well thought of organization?
The first thing we did was look at who was a community college athletics director. We found out that in some places, the athletics director is the dean. In other places, it's a coach. In other places, it's a faculty member, or it's someone on reassigned time receiving a stipend. In other places, it was a classified position. The first thing we found was that the athletics directors were being defined in many different ways at many places across the state. Our programs are quite diverse. We have campuses that have 22 athletics programs to campuses that, maybe, may have one, two, three, four, five, all the way down the line. So, depending on the campus, the position was being identified very differently. At some places, the position was a faculty member who was a coach, and in addition to coaching, had some relief time in which to be an athletics director.
Taking a look at that, the next thing we did was to take a look at the job descriptions for the athletics director position across the state. We came up with what you have before you. As you look at some of the responsibilities that we came up with in California, they're exactly the same as the responsibilities that Lori came up with from the state of Kansas. Direct, develop, implement and supervise the administration of the athletics program. That goes without saying. Oversee the integrity of the program. Direct and develop, to make sure there's compliance with local, state and federal guidelines. Eligibility compliance, budget development, gender equity compliance, game management and supervision, risk management, which is, basically, liability and again, dealing with the law. Fund raising, marketing, public relations, facilities scheduling and maintenance, meetings, overseeing the academic success program of student-athletes. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have counselors on board that are directing these programs for us.
Participate on college-wide committees. One of the things that is very important in California is that we're under Assembly Bill 1725 which talks very heavily about the shared governance process. Most of the decisions on our campuses that have anything to do with athletics need to go through a shared governance process, meaning the academic senate, presidents council, deans council, etc., so, there are many different constituents on the campus that also have input into our athletics decisions.
Coordinate and oversee the hiring, training, supervision and evaluation. Direct and coordinate program review. The last one is quite important and is, other duties as assigned, which we know what that means. When we took a look at, first of all, who is a community college athletics director? We then took a look at some of the responsibilities of a community college athletics director. We could see right away there was a gap between, in some places, who was doing the job and the amount of time that was being given to do the job and what needed to be done. It gave us a better insight as to why the participation has not been as great as we wanted it to be.
We went out and surveyed why people weren't attending the different meetings and functions that we thought were so important. Coaching conflicts, conflicts with other assignments they had on their campus. If they were, in addition to being the dean and athletics director, they were also a dean of student services or a dean of another division. They could not afford to have the time away from the campus to be at these functions. In some cases, the reassigned time was so small. Also, the funding to enable them to go to these meetings was not there. We knew right away that our challenge is filling the gap between what the position is and the amount of time that is being given to fulfill those responsibilities.
What we did, based on the research, was to come up with a recommendation that, and again, it's a recommendation because our campuses are very diverse and there is not one recommendation that will fill the bill for everyone, but our recommendation is that the position of the California community college athletics director should be a 12-month position which is 100 percent dedicated to athletics, that it be a management position and it would not include coaching.
There are many challenges to being a quality athletics director. At some institutions, the main challenge comes from the way in which the position is defined and established. As we look at the job description, it is vital for athletics directors to realistically assess their employment situation and to determine their priorities realistically. In other words, what can reasonably be accomplished with the amount of time that you have been given to do the job? What are the things that can provide the greatest benefits to our student-athletes? As we look at the job description, it would be quite unrealistic for someone who is coaching, who is teaching and who was given 20 percent reassigned time to take the marketing component, the promotions component, the student success component. It would create an extremely frustrating situation for the person trying to do the job.
One of the challenges is, take a look at the time you have at your institution currently and try to identify that one thing or, those things, that can be realistically accomplished to best benefit the student-athlete. On the longer range, in the future, is for us to continue working toward the development of the athletics director position with a job description and the duties receiving the serious commitment of the president and the institution. That is something we're going to have to try to do at our own sites, but also if we can try to work together and coordinate efforts so that the position of athletics director receives the attention necessary for the job that it needs to do.
I passed out a second chart that is a commission on athletics organizational chart. Our governing body has been in the process of restructuring to better meet the needs of our student-athletes and of our institutions. One of the things that has come about as a result of the restructuring is the Management Council. The Management Council is going to give athletics directors in the state of California a very important and very strong voice in determining how we are going to run our organization and our programs. On the back of the sheet, it talks about the Management Council and what its responsibilities are. One of our
challenges is to make sure we are up to the task of providing the leadership to the COA that we need to, as athletics directors. To do that is one of the reasons we have made these recommendations and our next step in the state of California would be to develop a position paper that will be presented to the league of community colleges. We will then move on from there.
This is how, in California, we are addressing the challenge of the changing times of the re-engineering of the reorganization by, basically, taking a two-prong approach. Thank you.