State of the Association Address
(Tuesday, June 15, 2:45 - 4:00 p.m.)
Thank you. This certainly is not the State of the Union Address and we're going to have to get that changed next year in the program. What was important and should have been mentioned in the program is that this is the ADA Annual Business Meeting.
I want to thank all of you for attending this meeting and this Convention. It's very important for the NAIA to have a lot of representation here. The more people here, the better for the association and all of us. It certainly is a very educational opportunity for everyone. Personally, I would like to have had some time over the last three or four days to attend a lot of the seminars, but because I wanted to be in some other meetings, I wasn't able to. I hope you're all taking advantage of these opportunities and continue to learn, as we all need to do.
I want to thank the counsels and the committees that have been meeting here since Thursday night. They do work very hard and put in anywhere from eight to 10 hours a day sitting and dealing with all of these issues. Thank you very much for your hard work.
I'd like to spend a few minutes on membership, championships, marketing, sports information and public relations and some national office staff changes. I want to talk a little bit about the regional plans and Jonathan, thank you for doing the qualifications.
As of September 1, 1997, we had 344 members. One year later, we had decreased by 11 to 333. I believe that was our fourth or fifth year in a row that we had a decrease. Since September 1, 1998, up until the last few days, our membership has increased by five to 338. Our projections are that membership will continue to be at 338 as of the start of the fiscal year on August 1. That will then equate to the first of many years that we've had an increase in membership. That says a lot about where this organization is going. The people have a lot of confidence in what we're all doing. We expect to see membership slowly but surely increase over the next few years.
As you all know the spring games were just completed. It was our second year and I think it was quite successful. The student-athletes certainly enjoyed their participation in the championship games. They experience what I would call a seamless group of championships. I don't think for a second they knew that things were going on behind the scenes that weren't quite right and were being fixed right and left.
We had an opening ceremony that lasted about four hours, perhaps too long for the student-athletes who had to compete the next morning. It was a really neat event at an outdoor amphitheater. There must have been somewhere in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 NAIA people there and twice that from the community who came out and watched the student-athletes. One who came representing their schools came up to the microphone and introduced themselves and their school. We had some words from dignitaries representing Palm Beach County. We then had a concert that was outstanding, with fireworks afterwards, so I think it was a good time for everyone.
There were a few other social events that the student-athletes had a chance to attend throughout the week. I don't think they were well attended and we expected they would be. We've been trying to improve the experience we had in Tulsa in that sense where the student-athletes could get together and experience Olympic-style camaraderie. However, they were not that well attended and we'll have to take another look at that. I'm sure the reason was they were focusing on competition and winning national championships. Going out in the evenings just doesn't fit.
We had very good attendance, certainly much higher than in Tulsa. Financially, we will at least break even. I say we, because we were partners with the Palm Beach Sports Commission. They were responsible for 99 percent of the expenses and approximately 100 percent of the sponsorships. We decided to share in their efforts and their risks. The good news is they expect to at least break even, if not a little bit of profit. That's very similar to what happened in Tulsa last year. We do need to make some improvements if we're to move forward with that event.
We need volunteers. We had a problem this year with that. There are reasons for that and I won't go into why they were lacking, but it did cause some problems. We were scrambling around trying to find people to help put on the events. We had a little of that same problem in Tulsa last year. There are probably few, if any, communities in this country that can handle our championships if we put on eight at once. That's not to say that you don't see successful large championships operated, but for whatever reason, I don't think a NAIA championship seems to draw the volunteer levels that the U.S. Olympic Committee Summer Festival does. We will continue to research spring games and continue to talk to potential hosts. That's one area that we will focus in on to see that a city can stand up and bring us about 1,000 volunteers for one week.
There were some issues of organization in this event, or organization and cooperation between our staff, the administrators and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission people. I think that's natural when you're forced to come together at the last second and work together. There are some ways we can prevent that in the future by meeting many more times prior to the start of the spring games. In all, I think Palm Beach County did a fine job. They put on a great event. I think they were very happy and proud of what they did and if you have a chance to meet those people when you're there, I recommend you search them out and commend them. If you would like, please send them letters of appreciation.
Next year, we're going to have a number of new sites. Men's soccer will be going to Albuquerque, New Mexico; swimming and diving will be at Simon Fraser; women's soccer will be at St. Thomas University in Miami; volleyball will be on the campus of Fresno Pacific. The Division II men's basketball tournament is moving to the College of the Ozarks in Missouri. The Tulsa Division I men's basketball tournament will be staying in Tulsa, but moving downtown to the Convention Center. The outdoor track and field meet will be held at Simon Fraser. Golf will be going to Albuquerque; baseball is going back to Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho. We have three other spring events -- women's softball, women's golf and women's tennis and we're still making decisions on those sites.
Jonathan went through the championship qualifications and I just want to mention that this is really the finalizing of the regional structure. The Council of Presidents had gotten through the marketing piece of the structure. They liked what they saw and already approved that. As we got into qualifications, they found they did not have the expertise or the experience to make a lot of those decisions, but they did send a qualification plan and a suggestion for what the CAA could work on. They've asked the CAA to send back their deliberations and their suggestions and I will be taking that to the Council of Presidents sometime in the next seven to 10 days. I'll be sending information through the mail and holding a conference call for discussions and vote on the final aspects of the regional plans.
The plan that the CAA came up with is very doable. I think it addresses our needs for cost reduction. It creates a situation where we can potentially generate new revenue. It has preserved our participation opportunities for our student-athletes. It's the right plan. I commend them for the work they did. They did a super job in analyzing every situation.
While you probably, at this point in time, don't have a chance to impact those plans, keep in mind that in future years, we'll have discussions on the qualification plans and be able to address them on an annual basis for potential change. We have it right and I don't think that will be necessary.
We have three new sponsors. SSI is a new volleyball equipment sponsor; GIL has signed on as a track and field sponsor. I met the GIL people at the track meet and they are wonderful and excited about their opportunity with the NAIA. Goby Dry signed on as a football sponsor. They have a machine that dries footballs to perfection. We have switched our airline affiliations. We always had one airline and we now have three. We did that for two reasons. One, we felt as a national office, we needed flexibility. Our airline flights and our ability to be rewarded for using a particular airline with some tickets being free and reduce our costs were considered. Those three airlines are United, American and TWA. We also felt that if we went away from one exclusive carrier, our championship hosts would have the opportunity to do local deals tying that into their championships. That gives them another sponsorship opportunity. We're considering that also with the car rental situation.
We had quite a decrease in our broadcasting of championships this year. That's principally because we took some risks last year and it didn't pay off financially. We got a lot of exposure from the Division I basketball tournament, but we decided to back down a little bit. We had the football championship broadcasted both regionally and locally. The Division I men's basketball tournament had four or five broadcasts that were stimulated by the school. We brought in a production company and the school paid for those costs.
Next year, again, risk was the reason we backed down a little bit. We wanted to take the risk out in some way, shape or form. We've approached our hosts for football, basketball and baseball and asked them to make a commitment financially to pay for the production of at least the championship games. I'm happy to say the majority of them have agreed to do that or are in the process of working on that financially. The football championship will be broadcast and potentially other games of the championship series. There are a few opportunities out there that we're looking at right now in partnering with either a conference or a potential broadcaster or sponsor.
I believe that all four basketball tournament national championship games will be broadcast. Both the women's games will definitely be broadcast. Those commitments have been made. We're working with the College of the Ozarks on that same commitment on that tournament. For Tulsa, it's going to be up to me to talk to our staff and deliberate as to whether or not we want to make that same commitment in our budgets. I can tell you this. If all three are done, we'll certainly do it. In baseball, at Lewis-Clark, they're working on a similar situation. We'll get that done there also. Once you cover the production of the final game, you have a chance to go out and sell the advertising and recoup your costs. You've got to get that done at least a year ahead of time so that you can place the broadcast with the broadcasters, get the air time and then sell the advertising. We're light years ahead of where we've been in the past. We have a chance to put together a year-long package and go to potential sponsors and offer football, basketball and baseball to them. They've been intrigued by that and I feel we'll have a pretty successful situation.
Additionally, this gives us a chance to have a production company on site. If there's opportunity for that production company to produce games for our schools in the previous rounds, they'll be approached by those schools, stay there the whole week, cover their costs and make a few dollars. It gives the schools a chance to broadcast back to their local or regional markets also. So, we're really looking forward to the broadcasting next year. This is tremendous exposure, if we can achieve it.
NAIA Properties have approximately 25 members, which is about 125 less than we expected by this time. I'm not going to say I'm disappointed, but I'm a little concerned why it hasn't moved forward. We know why and we're addressing that. We do have some great news. We have 10 licensees signed on. That amazes me given that we only have 25 schools. What it says is there's licensing companies out there that believe what we put together is the right program. They think it can be successful and they're ready to make their own commitments and take their own risks. Now it's our members' turn to step up to the plate and join this program.
We're going to have to produce some successes on some campuses. There are decision makers on our campuses that believe that without that success, they're taking too much risk and they're concerned about what they're getting into. We have to tell the good stories in order to gain further member participation. To that end, this aspect of the regional plan by having regional directors in place will enhance that opportunity. The directors will be able to get on campus and search out that decision-maker, talk about the program face-to-face and really answer the questions. I would hope that would increase membership in the program.
I urge all of you to take a look at this, facilitate for the regional director that particular meeting, whether it's with your book store manager or vice president on your campus and participate in that meeting.
From our championships, our apparel sales have gone through the roof. Spalding was signed on as concessionaire just before the spring games last year. With three weeks notice, they came in and did a super job providing some great products for our student-athletes to purchase and take home as souvenirs. The product is right. They are in tune to what these student-athletes are looking for. It's the right styles and they provide a quick turnaround. At the spring games this year, they met late in the evening, decided what product was selling well, went to work and got the stuff out to get there at noon the next day. We had everything on site for student-athletes to purchase. We've done quite well in that area.
They're trying to expand their championship program out to the schools that are in the championships. One of our schools worked with Spotlight right after they won their championship and got products on campus the next day.
There are 10 new licensees. The most well known one is Champion. I would guess they are on every one of our campuses. Champion believes there is something unique and beneficial to them. They've gone over and above and decided to pay a royalty when they didn't have to. That really says a lot and they see some opportunity there.
On sports information, I want to focus on the web site. About a year ago, we switched the NAIA News from hard copy to soft copy through the web. It's been a good publication in the sense that it's updated weekly. It has a lot of stories from the region. I urge you to send stories in or have your SID send stories in or your conferences and please read the NAIA News.
Check it every day or once a week and you'll be able to see what's going on in this association in that publication. The NAIA Daily is updated daily and has a lot of good information. I urge you to look at that too.
For March of this year, the NAIA web site had 2.3 million hits in that one month. That did not include the cybercast hits, which were the three championships that we broadcast. There were 3.7 million hits. Keep in mind these are six days per championship. These people were tuning in. The high on one day was the Division I tournament, when we had 593,000 hits. They were watching the cyber cast. That's all they were doing. It's an update of statistics of what's going on in a game second-by-second. A total for March was a little over six million. That's significant because Total Sports, our cybercast partner and a true partner, really believe in our organization. They are knowledgeable about the NAIA. They are a partner and we share in their ability to sell advertising. We share substantially in those efforts. Basically, we were able to put together a deal with them that costs the NAIA absolutely nothing. They are expanding their efforts with us. They are going to create naia.com, which will bring all of our web business into one Web site and at great expense to them and no cost to us. They cybercast football and three of the basketball tournaments and they plan to add to that this year. They've been a great partner. They keep looking for new opportunities for the NAIA. These hits are what drives their business. It's important that, not only do you check it out, make sure your school checks it out. They will enjoy it and it's the only chance they have to get up-to-minute updates on the games. They are quite intense as far information is concerned.
We've had some staff changes. At this point, there won't be any more for a while. It's been a painful process. I know all of you go through hiring and terminating employees. It hasn't been easy, but I felt we needed some changes and some new people and talents on staff. I've gone about doing that over the last two years. I'd like to announce who those people are and what their positions are and also update you on the regional directors. A lot of you met Jim Carr, our new managing director and general counsel. Jim has been with us since last August and he's done a super job. We just hired a new accountant, Connie Daws. Connie came from Wichita. She's been an accountant her whole life and went back to school to get a sports MBA. Her real interest is legislative services. At some point in time, Connie will end up in that department. Right now, she's handling our accounting. Laurie Heater was hired to run our human resources and she will be helping Jim in the licensing area. Donna Harmon was hired from Wichita. She was Doug Mosley's top sports information assistant. She's done a super job. Natalie Rips has been with us for a year in championships coordination and is also one of the new regional directors. Michelle Mitchell is our receptionist. John Kale is now a regional director. He will continue to provide a little bit of expertise and time to the sports information department in the short term.
Some of these people will be switching their championships. We want to align them with the championships in their region. We'll see a few changes there. Darren David, who was the assistant in public relations and Jessica Clemer who was the assistant marketing director for championships have now moved into a marketing group as assistant marketing directors. Darren will focus on public relations and Jessica on corporate sponsorship. I'm aware that one of our former employees, Kevin Henry, did a dang good job in PR for a number of years. He's no longer with us. Our public relations, in my opinion, are being enhanced. We're hiring a marketing director who will have some expertise in that area and will oversee the management of PR. I think he'll do a good job in that area. Darren David, who will take over the full duties of that department, will do a super job also. We're not doing anything different. What's changing is, while we're going to continue to do national public relations and make an effort to have the invaluable connections with national media, we really want to focus our efforts regionally. We want to work with sports information directors at every one of our schools so that we make in roads with the larger newspapers in the regions, if not the smaller ones that you do business with on a daily basis. That effort has increased.
We've had some success with the four mentioned publications, USA Today. Kevin worked very hard in creating that relationship. Kevin also worked with Raycom, who produces a national syndicated show called, "It's More than a Game." They came out and interviewed some staff members. At the tournament, they interviewed people who had been in the organization a long time and got their comments about the NAIA. They used the basketball tournament for the background for the show. They got some great footage out of the final game. It was a great show. I don't know if you've seen it. It has re-aired just last week. It's a wonderful opportunity for exposure for the organization.
I'm not going to go into much detail about regional enhancements. To be quite frank with you, I've been speaking about it so much, I'm getting confused myself. Basically, the plan has been approved by the Council of Presidents. It's set for August 1 implementation. There was a lot of discussion as whether or not we should start it now or wait a year. There was strong feeling that we've been deliberating over this for a year and a half and if we wait another year, we would get behind the eight ball. It has caused a few problems for some conferences and we may see some more, but I think we can work through it.
They approved the geographic structure. If you haven't seen that structure, it's available on the web site. It's a 14-region structure. They approved the new organizational structures, the changes in the councils, including their own council. The Council of Presidents will now be a 34-person board made up of one representative from each conference. In the past, we've had regional representatives, anywhere from 22 to 24 and at-large members. We felt very strongly that we needed to get the presidents involved at the grass roots level and certainly on regional management committees. To do so, we decided that one would represent each conference. Also, there will be four independent representatives on the Council of Presidents.
They also approved the national staff structure, the creation of the regional directors and the regional teams and what we call the support group of those teams. The marketing was approved. That has a very regional emphasis. We are not going to expend resources trying to market ourselves nationally other than keeping up with our PR connections. We're going to try to do it regionally and work with all of you at your schools and conferences to try to promote everything we do regionally.
We have a brand marketing plan that is an overlay for the organization, but also for the regions, conferences and members. At some point, there should be a package available that you can utilize to tell the story about the NAIA and your schools and participate in that effort. It certainly has a collective aspect to it.
In all, this will help us build a better image. It's an organization that deserves that image. We're going to get that image back. In closing, there are a few challenges ahead that we need to pay attention to. The first and most important one is the need for all of us to simulate this regional plan as quickly as possible. I've told the regional directors that is their number one goal. I don't want them to worry about marketing. They do have to worry about championships and running them, but let's make sure we get these regional management committees up and running and get every member in the association used to the plan and working with it.
We do have to implement a marketing plan and we're starting that with research on some campuses with their community and alumni and from that plan, we'll move to the next step. The sponsorship effort will continue. The goal for the year is to land one major brand or sponsor that everybody knows and one that brings a lot of value to the organization. Another goal is to get on everybody's campus.
The thing for all of us is to keep believing. The NAIA and the people in the NAIA do believe that we're going in the right direction and you should keep believing that because we are. As you experience our regional plan and participate in it, you'll understand more and more and believe more and more. Our organization is, no doubt, the best example in intercollegiate athletics associations and how it should be run and why it should be operated. Our philosophy is the right philosophy. Now, I think we have the right plan. We have the best group and the finest people in the world working in this organization. Because of that, if we continue to work together, we will be very successful in a very short time. I urge all of you to step to the plate, learn this plan and your role in it and participate and help to lead this organization to new heights. Thank you.
Thank you very much Steve, for that very comprehensive report. Do any of you have any questions? I would like to thank Steve and his staff for doing such a fantastic job in getting the NAIA on the right track. I would echo his sentiments that we all have to get on board, support the plan and try to make it work. After all, it's in the best interest of our student-athletes and that's why we're here.
Moving on to new business, we have a couple of committee reports.
Last year, Peggy reported concerning a survey she did resulting to some grass roots involvement and student involvement in the NAIA. She asked our special projects committee to discuss that. Bob and I met a few times about it at the CAA Meeting. Basically, we're here today to present a motion that the ADA work with the national office staff to establish a student advisory association within the NAIA to help in education, communication and to get input from our students. That will be a motion that we will bring forth from that committee.
All in favor of this motion? Thank you. Motion passed. Katherine, do you have a report from the Nominating and Finance Committee? No report at this time.
Natalie, do you have a report from the national championship dates or anything you would like to share? No.
Moving into new business are the ADA nominations. Did we receive any nominations at all? Some time ago, forms were sent out calling for nominations from the membership for ADA secretary. We did not receive any. On that basis, I call for nominations from the floor for ADA secretary. The rotation goes so that a female should be nominated this year. A female should have been nominated last year, but since we didn't have any, Bob was nominated and graciously filled. Janette Parent from Evergreen State has been nominated.
It's very important because there are a lot of women who are capable and certainly should become involved in the association. We will keep nominations open.
The CAA nominations have been named and all positions have been filled. We do not have to deal with that.
Relative to the luncheon today, as a member of the Sears Directors' Cup Scholarship Review Committee, allow me to add my congratulations to this year's postgraduate scholarship award winners and their institutions for extremely well-qualified students who will make their institutions and all of us very proud. Along those same lines, I would strongly encourage you this coming year to think of possible nominations for these awards. The four young men and women representing NAIA institutions that were recognized today each received scholarships they will be able to use in postgraduate education. It's a high point for them and it's a high point for your institution just to have them nominated, let alone be selected.
Two years ago, we had 28 students nominated from NAIA institutions. Twenty-eight was the second largest numbers of nominations from all four organizations, NCAA Divisions I, II and II and the NAIA. As you may remember, there were only 11 NAIA nominations this year.
The criteria for this nomination are a graduating senior who works in some capacity as support personnel in one or more of your athletics programs. They can be a band member, an athletics trainer, academic personnel, manager, cheerleader and those are just some of the examples. They must be a senior working in support areas for one or more sports. Another criteria is they plan to attend graduate school within the next three years. Some people don't nominate an individual because they think that person doesn't really know what they're going to do this very next year. NACDA has allowed that the funds would be able to be used over the next three or four years in the event the individual chooses to go on for graduate school. Currently the gradepoint average in 3.00 or better. NACDA, through their web site and through mailings later on this year to each of us, as members of NACDA, will be requesting nominations. You should be looking forward to receiving this information. Keep that in mind.
Along those same lines, NACDA would like to recognize Dr. David Stair. David will be stepping into a leadership role with NACDA as a member of their Executive Committee, along with Howard Patterson, from Incarnate Word. We wish David well and know that he will represent us extremely well on NACDA's Executive Committee for the next four years. Thank you Peggy.
Is there any other new business?
Howard Morris from the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Not exactly new business, but I would like to follow up on the chair's comments regarding congratulations for the national staff. I would hope these comments would be included in the minutes. It's important that your body, particularly, because your minutes should cross every athletics director's desk in our organization. I hate to reveal how long I've been affiliated with the organization, but I can remember in the '60s being involved in the national committees. I'd sit here during these meetings and watch Steve Baker involved in the nuts and bolts of the qualification plan and regional enhancement and think that this is the first time I've sensed this for a long time. We all should be pleased we have a man whose management style is to put that flak jacket on and come down into the trenches and let the bullets be fired at him. We haven't seen that in a while, folks.
Usually at these meetings, we have the CE walk in, give us the State of the Nation, and walk out before questions are asked. Somehow, if we can convey in your minutes that this group is supportive of national staff and Steve's efforts and what they're doing with regional enhancement, we can go back in our areas and try to influence our conference members to get on the wagon and start pulling it in the direction that our leadership is pulling it, the quicker we're going to be to where we want to get.
We must remember that we, ourselves, ask for positive leadership direction and we ask for a change. We have the opportunity now. We have something in hand. Let's be patient and let's aggressively make it work. Enough said. Thank you.
Consider it done because our secretary is taking notes and it will be reflected in the minutes. I agree with those comments. Before we adjourn, I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize some of our own. If you were at the luncheon yesterday, we had four of our people recognized as NACDA/Continental Airlines AD of the Year from the NAIA -- Willie Washington from Benedict College; and Hal Smith from Malone College; Harry Statham from McKendree
College; and Peggy Anderson from Eastern Oregon University. The last person we'd like to recognize is a colleague whose retiring from her athletics administration duties. Kathy is an outstanding role model and mentor for many young people who have aspired to a career in sports administration. Her program at Texas Lutheran University has really set a standard for many institutions to follow. It's through her leadership and her commitment to athletics in the true sense and to the student-athletes that this has been possible. I was thinking even though she indicated that she's sad to leave all of the people in the association, she won't miss sitting for hours in a CAA meeting. As the group continues to deliberate, each one will be thinking, what would Kathy say? We wish you well.
The only announcement I have is that the 1999 NAIA national convention will be in Lexington, Kentucky on October 2-6. I plan to see all of you there. If there are no other announcements, the meeting is adjourned.