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NCAA Division II Breakout Session
Student-Athlete Behavior/CYA
(Wednesday, June 16, 10:20 - 11:05 a.m.)

Roger Maisner:
Good morning, I'm Roger Maisner, a member of NACDA's Executive Committee and the director of athletics at Mansfield University. This is the second breakout session today for Division II. It's entitled, "Student-Athlete Behavior/CYA" or as Ron says, "cover your athletes, cover your avenues or whatever you need to cover on your campus." Our discussion this morning will be done by three distinguished gentlemen who are here to share their thoughts and ideas why you should have a written student-athlete handbook or a code of conduct or both at each of your institutions. They're sharing should stimulate your thinking and actions or enhance or, where necessary, start to better define your university's philosophy and to document what your philosophies are in regards to student-athlete behavior.

Each presenter will share their believes and experiences for a few minutes and we should have time after for questions and sharing. Our first presenter is Darrell Gordon. Darrell is presently a membership services representative for the NCAA. In 1984, he received a full athletics scholarship to play outside linebacker for the University of Notre Dame football team. While starting for the 1988 national championship team, Darrell earned his bachelor's degree in economics and business and a master's degree in administration with a 3.3 GPA. While pursuing his degrees, he held numerous leadership positions in collegiate and community organizations. Darrell has significant work experience. He's been a law clerk with a prominent Cincinnati law firm. He's been a graduate assistant for the Dean of Chase College Law. He's been a sports agent assistant with an international management group. He's been a sales manager and a safety director and a stockbroker assistant on the New York Stock Exchange. Ladies and gentlemen, Darrell Gordon.

Darrell Gordon:

Thank you and good morning. We'll start out by saying that I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you. It's been a wonderful event. I just got in yesterday so, I didn't have the opportunity to appreciate all of the meetings that have been conducted over the past few days. Truly, I've been impressed with what I've seen.

I'd like to pose a question. How many of you have a student-athlete code of conduct policy on your campus that you utilize? Does that code of conduct reflect to just student-athletes or does it also reflect coaches, administrative assistants and administrators at your institution? Is it simply for your coaches or for your student-athletes? The focus has shifted from the student-athletes to the coaches, to the administrators. It's my belief we need to have a code of conduct for all entities, including coaches, administrators and student-athletes. We all fall under the same umbrella.

The purpose of the student-athlete code of conduct is to set forth the standard of conduct expected by the student-athlete once he joins that national institution. This should be done by the SAAC organization, along with administrators at your institution.

How do we prepare this legislation? Our national office pulled together some code of conduct legislation from approximately 11 institutions. That information is here and you can review it upon your departure. We tried to set up a guideline on what you can do and how you go about establishing your codes of conduct.

First, we look at developing an advisory panel. Choose athletics directors, staff, senior women's administrators and student-athletes. You need a mission statement. Cornell does a great job in their mission statement. They use this to develop their codes of conduct. If a student-athlete understands the goal of a code of conduct, they're more likely to be successful in accomplishing it. More often than not, we just put forth legislation and they don't understand why it's there. If they understand it's for their benefit, as well as the institution's benefit, they're more likely to follow it.

What types of codes of conducts are there? Penn State and Seton Hall do great jobs. They specify their types of codes of conduct. They'll have an academic code of conduct, an athletics code of conduct, personal and media. How do you deal with the media? Maybe there should be something on codes of conduct in that area.

Travel expectations should be noted. When I played for Notre Dame, we traveled on various occasions and we had a code of conduct. We knew how to conduct ourselves, what to wear and how to approach each institution on a trip. We were required to wear a tie and sport coat. A lot of institutions do not require this. Again, it's something you need to look at in your institution.

Look at how student-athletes conduct themselves in the dining hall. These are just specific areas to look at. You may want a general code of conduct policy at your institution, but you might want to look at specifying it and streamlining it so student-athletes actually know what they're responsible for.

Arizona State looks at do's and don'ts. It's very simple. A student-athlete looks at the do's and don'ts to prepare what they're responsible for. You need to have alcohol policies, gambling policies and drug policies. You need to have tobacco policies.

We try to advocate self-reporting. Arizona State does a great job in providing a benefit for those who self-report. If there's a code of conduct violated and a student-athlete knows and has knowledge of this violation, he should self-report. The penalty may not be so severe. Once again, if he knows this, he'll come forward with information.

Enforcement procedures are important. Seton Hall and Arizona State do a great job in enforcing their policies.

Sanctions are always interesting. Those student-athletes need to know who is preparing and who is going to set forth the sanctions so they know how to deal with those sanctions. Ignorance is not an excuse. How often do we hear from a student-athlete they didn't know about it? Have your student's sign off on your code of conduct policy. Now, they're liable and they're responsible for those codes of conduct and conducting themselves in that manner.

The NCAA Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Committee has established ways in promoting this. They want to build momentum with the student-athletes and staff members going out into the community to promote a common goal of your institution. This should be a combined effort with the student-athletes and athletics administrators. Encourage national SAAC members at your institutions. This is mandated by our legislation that all institutions must have a SAAC on campus. This is a viable entity you should utilize.

After implication, the NCAA is looking at required sports announcers to begin emphasizing codes of conduct of staff, players and coaches before every game. Again, repetition is key here. Get the student-athletes to recognize the code of conduct. This code of conduct is not limited to student-athletes, but to staff and coaches and the fans during a competition.

The NCAA is providing a national poster, which will provide some bullet forms on ways in which student-athletes can conduct themselves on or off campus. Indicating respect, integrity, self-discipline, etc. All institutions will have this poster. It's something you can share with your student-athletes.

We looked at developing a public service announcement, possibly a 30-second length announcement promoting good sportsmanship. That's in the works now. You might find you should set up agreements with the media on airing of student-athletes' sportsmanship award or airing after an event. How often do we find that you get the Chevrolet Player of the Game, but we need to begin to get the media involved. We need to get the media involved for national recognition.

The NCAA News is publishing a Student-Athlete of the Year Award once a year. This is something you can do on your campus. Every month have a sportsmanship award. Give those winners to the NCAA to possibly be recognized in the NCAA News. Many people read this newsletter.

We have a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Our mission is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunities, protecting student-athletes' welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image. A positive student-athlete image works hand-in-hand with the code of conduct. There are three national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees, Division I, Division II and Division III. The NCAA mandates that all member-institutions have a SAAC organization in your institutions. Come August 1, it will be a mandate by the legislation in the NCAA that all conferences have a conference SAAC.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee responsibilities are as follows. It's to generate student-athletes' voices within the NCAA structure. They are going to be your promoting mechanism for this code of conduct. They are also responsible for proposing potential NCAA legislation, reviewing, acting and commenting on NCAA legislation and participating in the administrative process. They are required to promote the positive student-athlete image. I keep emphasizing positive student-athlete image because we feel that student-athletes on the SAAC Committee are responsible for being role models.

We're trying to develop a starting point for all of you. Eleven institutions now have codes of conduct. Some are quite extensive, some are quite brief. We also have information for our SAAC panels. We ask that you pick up the information that's available. I thank you for your time and if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Roger Maisner:

Thank you Darrell. As I mentioned our presenters are talking for five to eight minutes in regards to their thoughts about documentation of a student handbook or a code of conduct. Darrell, you've given us a start on stimulating some thoughts as to things we might add to our own codes of conduct. I was impressed at how many of you already have documentation in that area.

Our next speaker is Michael Gant, education outreach program coordinator for the NCAA. His responsibilities include coordination of the CHAMPS Life Skills Program, its yearly orientation and continuing education conferences and the leadership conference administration. Before working with the NCAA, Michael served as a presidential aid at Central Missouri State University. He was a diversity education instructor at Central Missouri State. His experiences include a head basketball coach at the high school level and assistant basketball coach at the university level. He provided academic support at the collegiate level. He's a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the Black Coaches Association and has worked at the national conventions for the National Association of Basketball Coaches since 1993. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce Michael Gant.

Michael Gant:

Good morning. Obviously, you can probably tell what direction I'm going to be coming from with regard to student-athletes' codes of conduct. From Life Skills perspective, we looked at changing behaviors among the athletes and talked about ways to further their development on and off the floor. When we start talking about codes of conduct, in Life Skills, we look at it as an opportunity to define the expected behaviors from your student-athletes.

A lot of times, if you go into your student handbooks, essentially, you've already got groundwork for your student-athlete code of conduct right there. You don't want to digress too far from what they've already provided. We start looking at why is a student-athlete code of conduct important. Roger spoke about covering your assets, covering your avenues. In today's society, when you start looking at the attorneys out there looking for opportunities to financially benefit themselves and student-athletes who felt they've been wronged. Anytime you have that student-athlete code of conduct and level of expectation that's already there as the gatekeepers of your institution, you have another leg to stand on. You can say you had these policies in place when we made a decision to handle an athlete in a certain manner.

From a PR standpoint, whether you're in a large market or a small market, we've got media sharks out there looking for opportunities for negative press among athletes. As administrators, you struggle for opportunities to visit with those folks and provide insight on some of the good things your programs are doing, but it's often difficult for them to listen to you at those times. Have a problem occur within your department and suddenly you've got access to media whether you want it or not.

From a CHAMPS Life Skills perspective, we talk about five commitments. Again, looking at codes of conduct from an academic standpoint, we look at study skills, goal setting and time management. We look at tutoring, academic advisement, counseling expectations, all of those things that, again, lend itself to the kind of behavior you would like to see your student-athletes exhibit.

We also talk about a second commitment and that is personal development. We're talking about the things off the floor with regard to self-esteem, stress management, addictive behavior, media relations, dealing with authority, understanding what's expected from a diversity standpoint. Not only is this expected from your institution perspective, but also again, from within the athletics department.

A third area we look at is career development. In order to enhance their opportunities once they step away from your institution, again, when you look at what is designed and what is expected from your athletics code of conduct, all you're trying to do is put those kids in a position to do some good things once they step away from your campus. With that, they're expected to carry themselves in a certain manner. When we start looking at career development, you've got to have them understand your alumni network, but how to enhance their opportunities through your career development offices.

The fourth area we look at is service commitment. From the media standpoint, you're looking for opportunities for positive media information. From a service commitment, helping influence others in a positive manner, doing things outside of campus that the media can look to and say that this is a positive from your department. Through the code of conduct handbook, you can stipulate what kind of expectations there are from a service standpoint.

Lastly, most importantly, we look at the athletics commitment. We're talking about an area of balance. There are certain expectations you have on and off the floor. Athletically, there are expected behaviors as well that can enhance our programs.

I want to talk about the hows and whys for the CHAMPS Life Skills involvement. You have folks on your campus that can speak to all areas. You don't have to have one expert that is your CHAMPS Life Skills expert that drones on and on about their commitments. You've got people you can draw from certain areas on your campus that can speak to those issues. How many folks here have CHAMPS life Skills on your campus? My job is to continue this program.

As Darrell indicated, we've got some examples of our student-athletes codes of conduct that are available on the chairs. We also have some information that speaks to CHAMPS Life Skills and we have the application that's available. It's very imperative for me to get across to you the simplicity of applying this program on your campus. Financially, the only commitment you have is to send someone to our orientation and continuing education conference that first year. When you start talking about the five areas, you've got a health services center that can speak to your addictions if you have them on your campus. You've probably got people in your physical education department that want to speak to leadership issues with regard to athletics. You can pull in people from your career development to speak to kids about developing opportunities beyond their eligibility.

What's really key is you folks have an idea of who your friends are in the various areas on campus. You're essentially asking your coordinator to do just that, coordinate. They've got to get out there, shake hands, make friends and bring those folks in that can speak to the various commitment areas with your athletes.

As student-athletes, when all of these services are available for the general student body on campus, your kids are in practice, so they don't have an opportunity to really take advantage of these things. Through the CHAMPS Life Skills Program, you provide your athletes that opportunity to be a functioning member of your campus and have those same opportunities that the general student body has. CHAMPS Life Skills will provide you with an opportunity to affect the behavioral development of your student-athletes. Secondly, we're going to benefit the personal development of your kids.

We're going to help you establish the buy-in from your athletics department's core values with those kids. We're going to help student-athletes establish and develop their own core set of values through the information you provide for them from the CHAMPS Life Skills resources. We hope to insure that your athletes understand the core values of, not only the athletics department, but also the team. We want to insure that your student-athletes understand those behaviors that are expected within your department.

We're there to serve as a resource. I'd like to ask that you all take advantage of the program. If anybody would like for me to visit with them personally about some of the ways you can bring our program to your campus as inexpensively as possible, I'll be available. Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today.

Roger Maisner:

Thank you Michael. As you can see in attempting to create a diverse panel, we have a gentleman who works with the student-athlete's committee and gets their input in terms of their thoughts on student-athletes' handbooks and codes of conduct. We've had a gentleman speak who works with the CHAMPS Life Skills Program and I can see that a lot of us need to take more advantage of that program.

Now, we'll have a gentleman speak to you that's been in the trenches. Our next speaker is Dr. Richard Young. He's been an assistant football coach at the university level. He's been a head baseball coach at the university level. He's been a director of athletics at Bowling Green State University and a professor of physical education and health at Bowling Green. He's been the director of athletics at Oklahoma State University. He's been the director of athletics at Washington State University and the director of athletics at Florida International University. He currently is the director of athletics and campus recreation Director at Lynn University. Dr. Young received his bachelor's from Ohio State, his master's from Ohio State and his Ph.D. from Bowling Green. He has published many articles on athletics and athletics administration.

Richard Young:

Thank you Roger. I never attended any NCAA or NACDA meeting without carrying my resume in my bag. Roger asked for one last night. I remember once when I was at a NCAA meeting a few years back, I saw a president walking through the lobby with a sandwich board hanging front and back and it said, "need AD with Ph.D." At that point, I started carrying that resume with me. I'm not sure why I was invited to this particular panel other than I've been around so long I've witnessed such amazing changes in student-athletes. It's unbelievable what we've seen from the '50s to the '90s. This indicates why we need things today. I'm surprised and pleased to see that so many of you have addressed this problem.

Student-athletes asking "why" never occurred before the '60s. I never heard anybody ask Woody Hayes why he did this or that. It was not yours to reason why. It was yours to do or die back in the '50s and before that. Things have changed substantially through these years. College students and student-athletes have changed dramatically in the last few decades. A study was conducted and it was found that undergrads changed in attitudes, beliefs, behavior and in activities and in their dreams.

What we know about today's students and student-athletes is remarkable. They're older and more diverse. They have been shaped by different political and social events. They're coming to college more career oriented, but in need of academic remediation. They are more damaged psychologically and they socialize differently. These are the reasons we need student-athlete handbooks and things of this nature.

Between 1980 and 1994, the lion share of college enrollment growth came from students who might be described of nontraditional. According to the U.S. Department of Education, by 1994, 44 percent of all college students were over 25 years of age. Fifty-four percent were working, 55 percent were female and 43 percent were attending part-time. Fewer than one in six of all current undergraduates fit the traditional stereotype of the American college student that most of us recall. Eighteen to 22 year-olds attending full-time and living on campus is only one in six today.
What this means is the higher education is not as central to the lives of many of today's undergraduates as it was to those of previous generations. Today's college students live in a world in which they distrust the nation's leaders; they have little confidence in the nation's social institutions. They see large-scale problems all around them, from poverty, racism, crime and environmental pollution. They see a troubled economy and global conflict. Unlike their predecessors, current students have concluded they do not the luxury of turning away from these problems. Students are coming to college feeling overwhelmed and more damaged than students who came in previous years. Sixty percent of chief student affairs officers report that undergraduates are using psychological counseling services in record numbers and for longer periods of time than in the past. Eating disorders are up 58 percent at the institutions surveyed. Classroom disruption has increased at 40 percent, drug abuse is at 42 percent, alcohol abuse at 35 percent and gambling has grown to 25 percent. Suicide attempts have risen to 23 percent. Escaping from the campus physically and from life, the bottle has become very popular on our campus and some of yours. In the main, students are leaving campuses to have fun and that includes our student-athletes. Collegiate social life, which involves primarily traditional age, is lubricated by alcohol. These are all concerns of ours that we try to address. Students are taking longer to graduate. Fewer than two out of five students are able to graduate in five years. We came forth with the student-athlete handbook and the policy and procedures manuals. It's a compliment to the institutional student handbook that most of us have on our campuses today and to our own policies and procedures manual, if you have one. We started developing policies and procedures manuals in the early '70s. We spoke at the NACDA Convention in the early '70s in that regard. We've adopted it to all of those schools that Roger mentioned. Our first policies and procedures have become very significant in our lives as we administer our athletic program. We don't use it everyday, but we use it when we need to. It's been quite a contributor to the organizational structure of the schools I've worked. The student-athlete handbook clarifies and defines policy. Code of conduct and much, much more is in our student-athlete handbook. I have copies here if you'd like to pick one up at the end of the meeting. One of the things that's avoided for us is litigation. Briefly, Darrell mentioned that as a concern or an interest. Policies and procedures in writing and verbally explained go a long way to keeping us out of court. I also carry a $1 million liability policy. I've never used it in my 40 years. This type of thing has helped deter that problem and I call it to your attention, if you're not into this student-athlete handbook. It clarifies direction. In our case, we have our mission statement. Mr. Covey indicated how important that was in his talk. It serves as a resource and it does get used. We do extra interviews and I'm sure you do on your campus. We found that this year, 50 percent of our graduating athletes had used our student-athlete handbook this year to refer to concerns of interest to them. It is a very important part of our administration at Lynn University. Thank you and we appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. Roger Maisner: Ladies and gentlemen, it's been a pleasure to bring this group to you to discuss student-athletes' behavior and codes of conduct. I know the presenters will be happy to talk with you in the lobby if you have any questions. Again, there are handouts for you to pick up. Thank you for your attendance.