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NCAA Division II Breakout Session
An Era of Change -- Division II in the New Structure - Future of the NCAA Convention
(Tuesday, June 16, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.)

Jerry Hughes:

I'm Jerry Hughes, the athletics director at Central Missouri State University and member of NACDA's Executive Committee. I'd like to welcome you to this Breakout Session entitled "Division II in the New Structure and the Future of the NCAA Convention." I might note that before we begin, the program says this panel goes until 10:45 a.m. It actually goes until 10:15 a.m. and then we have a Division II Athletics Directors Association Meeting. After that, we have a Championship Session.

Please remember that the Spouse's Hospitality Suite is located on the Voyager Lawn sponsored by Outback Trophies Suites. They have installed a luxury suite. Please inform your spouses and try to stop by.

This morning, I'm indeed, happy to have the expertise that we have here on the podium to talk about Division II issues and the convention, etc. We have with us Cedric Dempsey, the executive director of the NCAA. Ced became the third executive director on January 1, 1994. He oversees a staff of more than 300, located in Kansas, soon to move to Indianapolis. He provides leadership in the governance structure of more than 1,200 colleges, universities, conferences and affiliated organizations. I think Ced is unique because he's been one of us. He's been an athletics director at the University of Arizona, University of Houston, San Diego State University and the University of the Pacific. Prior to this, he was an assistant basketball coach, a tennis coach and a cross country coach, so Ced can help you in many aspects.

Also up here with us this morning is Nancy Mitchell, the chief of staff for Division II. Nancy joined the association as legislative assistant in December 1985. In 1991, she was promoted to assistant executive director for legislative services. In January 1986. Nancy was promoted to chief of staff in Division II. She does an excellent job for us.

Without any further ado, I'd like to turn things over to Ced.

Cedric Dempsey:

Thank you and good morning. The expertise is sitting over to the left of the table. I'm the front person on this. The other expertise is Mike Racy, who is coming down the aisle, in terms of Division II activities. Those two people are doing an excellent job for the organization and for your division as we move through this federated approach. I'm always amused when someone introduces me as a former tennis coach and a former cross country coach. I was at Albion College coaching tennis. I had never played tennis when I started coaching. Isn't it funny how we get thrown into things? I had great athleticism and wanted to demonstrate my ability to the team. The very first day I decided I would take the number one player on the team and he and I would hook up and play doubles against the number two and three people. They asked me to serve first and I tossed the ball just the way you're supposed to. I ripped one about 100 miles an hour going across the net and I hit my partner in the back of the head and knocked him out. That's the last time they let me play.

In cross country, I had great success in that. That team never let me forget that I had a lot of great ideas and never ran cross country before. When we did over distance training, I'd take them out and bicycle with them. We would run about two or three days before we had a meet. I took them out one week and I got lost as to where we were going. They ended up running 28 miles to get back home. They reminded me as they tried to run the race two days later about my training. I had great experiences as a coach.

I'm pleased to be with you today. I want to explain something to you very quickly. People have come up to shake hands with me and I extend my left hand. I broke my right arm about a month ago. It's doing fine, but once in a while, when someone gets my right arm, it feels like it's falling apart. If I keep it in there, it's not because I'm trying a new style, it's for protection purposes.

As mentioned, the major topic today is to talk about the convention. I'd like to mention a few things related to the convention. There's been a lot of concern about the convention as was reflected right after the convention. Is it going to continue to exist because of the different formatting of it?

Let me pinpoint some of the issues in Division II and some of the responses we've had from the questionnaire that was distributed to you this morning. First of all, when we wet into the federated structure and it was voted upon, so many of you heard me say that I felt Division II had the best opportunity for growth and success and identification that could come out of the federation. I think some of the statistics you see about the convention support that and I am very excited about the opportunities that Division II has in front of it in developing its own identification under the new structure.

Certainly, the new structure doesn't change the legislative process of Division II and I think that's been one strength to be able to see it grow. I think it still has the same process for legislation where, at the convention is the only time that legislation within the structure can be changed. So, it's very important that Division II remains a good participant and very involved in the NCAA convention because that's when most of your activity takes place. We did see that. We saw that at this past convention. In fact, I believe we had the best attendance that Division II has ever had at an national convention. There were 258 out of the 276 Division II institutions in attendance. That's 95.5 percent of the membership in Division II.

If you want to compare that, Division I had 91 percent representation and Division III had 82 percent. Division II had greater representation than the other two divisions, which I think, again, goes to the support of the new structural strength for Division II. There were 581 delegates from Division II at the Convention.

Another interesting part is that there were more CEOs at the convention from Division II. There were 25 percent of the CEOs in Division II that were in attendance, or there were 68 out of 276 chief executives. That's the highest percentage by considerable amounts over the other divisions. Division I had only 10 percent in attendance. There were more than two and a half as many presidents from Division II attending. Division III only had nine percent of it's CEOs at the convention. That's historically been a problem in Division III, getting presidents involved at the national level.

A driving force on this was led by Adam Herbert who was a president involved, very closely, throughout the transition stage and pushed hard to get presidential commitment and support for the division. That was very encouraging to see that many presidents show up at your meetings.

The information you see in your questionnaire indicates that Division II membership continues to express strong preference to specific forms and breakout sessions. The delegates also indicated strong support for continuing association-wide functions at the convention. I would say that in Divisions II and III, the two biggest concerns I've personally received related to the convention is making sure there is still opportunity and interaction between all three divisions. On one hand, you certainly like the breakout sessions, you like the opportunity to do your own business, but on the other hand, there's an interest in knowing what's going on in the total structure of the association as well as intercollegiate athletics. There's a balance in there that we need to continue to have.

There is certainly continued interest in the Honors Dinner and the Delegates Reception and the General Session. Those functions are still of interest to you in Division II. Sixty nine percent of your membership indicated you want to keep the annual convention in the early part of January. Historically, it seems that every year I've been involved in the convention, there's always been some interest in changing the time of the convention to the summer time or going to other times of the year. But every time we do a questionnaire, people always want to have it early January.

The Division II delegates have indicated, as you will see in there, they're still very interested in using the convention to identify issues that are up before the division and for the association as a whole and that the business sessions are very important to why you come to the convention. That reflects how you are structured.

There are concerns about the decrease in the number of participants, but that decrease occurred primarily in Division I. There was a decrease in Division I attendance. There was still very strong institutional representation. What we saw in Division I, and I mention these things to you as it relates in Division I because I think it affects, in a sense, the potential impact of the whole convention. If you have one of the divisions begin to decrease in attendance, what impact does that have on the other two divisions? Some of the points I mentioned to you about Division I are a reflection for you to think about on how it effects Division II.

We did see in Division I, the decrease in attendance. There was still about 91 percent of the institutions that had representation, so there's still a large number in Division I. The drop-off came in the number of people from each institution that were there. In the past, in Division I, it was not unusual to have four or five delegates from each institution. That decreased considerably. The 10 percent reduction in total attendance in Division I was not a reduction in institutional membership, it was the number of people from institutions. That will probably continue. You will not see the four to five number of people coming from Division I institutions. It will be down to two or three people from each institution coming.

One of the concerns in Division I was the poor turnout as it related to the presidents being involved in it since, obviously, one of the goals of the restructuring was the presidents' involvement. Their rationale is that the presidents, through the Board of Directors, still are making the decisions and the legislative process is different. Four times a year, Division I can change the legislative process. They can change bylaws during that period of time, whereas, II or III can only do it at the convention. That's one of the major differences.

Our charge then, is how do we make sure that in Division I, people do come and what kind of programming can be developed that will encourage people. The goal of the convention was that they do need an opportunity to override. In any of the previous sessions they would have, if a group of institutions, and there's the first override measure that's been presented as it related to Sunday competition. That would come to the convention. Institutions still need to be there to vote on particular override situations which is a need for Division I.

What does the future hold for all three divisions? We have some challenges related to trying to come up with some forums that are beneficial to all divisions. You will have your forums that are specific to Division II. I think it is important for us to maintain a solidarity as an organization by having forums about association-wide issues rather than specific federated issues. We have some challenges there.

There's been some interest that we look at having high profile people come in and give presentations related to intercollegiate athletics on a broader basis, whether that would be the president or other people that would come in and I think there's some possibilities along that line.

All of us have felt that there is an importance to continue the celebration of what we do and the Honors Dinner and those banquets where we bring people together for all of us to reflect upon what we're all about. We all get involved in the day-by-day basis on administrative aspects of what we're doing and we forget that our major goal is the education of student-athletes. Our Honors Dinner gives us all a great deal of pride. There's a lot of interest in continuing that kind of program.

What other kind of joint functions should we have that would encourage people is something that the survey addressed. I might indicate that each survey was slightly different. There were some issues that were strictly federated by each division and there were some questions that were based on association-wide basis. Particularly in Division I, people asked whether or not there would be greater interests in social activities, golf tournaments, etc. Interestingly enough, there was not. People do not want that. Again, if you look back on why you're coming, it's business sessions and the opportunity to discuss issues. We did not see a great deal of interest in more social gatherings of bringing people together.

The concerns we've had through the convention because of the media involvement in Division I issues, was that there was a large drop-off in the number of media who attended because they thought nothing was going to happen. We've got to keep media focus on the convention by highlight things that will be of interest to them. It was a change, a different kind of structure, so they were still trying to get involved. Our drop-off was significant at our last convention with the media. That serves as a real challenge for us as we look ahead.

Town Hall discussions can be helpful on issues. You find that true in your own division. I believe that the general consensus as we have finished this questionnaire is that everyone still sees a very strong need for the convention and II and III need it from the legislative standpoint, but there's also other inherent needs in bringing people together on an annual basis.

Our challenge is trying to make some of the things more exciting. I'm going to stop here and let Nancy talk. Afterwards, if there are any other issues that you want to raise in addition, please let me know. It's a pleasure to be with you today.

Nancy Mitchell:

Thanks Ced. I appreciate your comments. I also appreciate your comments on your belief that Division II has the most to gain and the most opportunity as a result of a new structure, because I really agree with that. I was happy to hear you say that.

There are a couple of things I want to mention for next year's convention in San Antonio. One thing was a great concern last year for the new electronic units that we used. I'm sure that those of you who were there know there were a number of institutions who thought they had recorded a vote, but the votes were not recorded when the final role call voting results came out. In case you don't know, the reason we went to those electronic voting units was because in past years, with the voting units we had, there was a problem with the frequency level and there was a lot of interference. Divisions II and III, in some years, couldn't vote at the same time. We had to check the other divisions to see if there were voting, if not, then we could vote. Division III had problems almost every year for the past four years just because something went wrong with the voting units related to the frequency level.

We investigated and found a company that indicated they thought they could do the job for us and I still think they can. We didn't have any problem with interference, but we do know there was concern about the votes not being recorded. We're confident that, based upon some analysis we did at the staff level, the final results in terms of whether a proposal was adopted or defeated, final results wouldn't have changed. It's possible the numbers would have been different, but the final results wouldn't have changed.

Still, even given that, we've identified a few things we can do at next year's convention to hopefully make the process an easier one. A couple of things that we're definitely going to do is have a test vote, maybe two or three test votes before we get to the actual voting, we need to have clearer instructions as to how to use the voting units. We're going to work with a company that has voting units and have them make sure they help us with some clearer instructions. We need to clarify how you will know if your voting unit is working, which I think is real important. I don't think even we understood well enough last year how you knew whether your vote was actually recorded. We're going to work with them as well. I heard from a number of people that we went too fast last year with the voting. We need to slow down a little bit and give you some more time.

If we do those things, we're going to go a long way toward making the process easier and one that will work. If any of you have suggestions, because you're the folks who are out there operating the unit, so if you've got suggestions about other things that we can do that would make it easier for you, please let me know, let Mike know, and we'll work on that for 1999.

One more thing I wanted to mention about the 1999 convention is this year we've identified a convention planning project team in Division II made up of representatives from the Management Council and the Presidents Council. The chair of that group is Bob Burnett. He's the president at Armstrong Atlantic State University and that's the group that's going to plan the forums, the topics for the 1999 convention. If you've got any ideas, it's your convention, you're the folks who sit there and listen, and we want you to get something out of it. If you've got some ideas for next year's convention, whether it relates to format or specific topics, again, please let me know, let Mike know, and we'll be happy to forward it on to the project team.

Jerry Hughes:

Thank you Nancy and Ced for your comments today. Let's give them a round of applause.