NCAA Division II Breakout
Keeping Up with the Joneses
(Tuesday, June 15, 12:00 nn - 12:45 p.m.)
We have scheduled the session being called "Keeping Up with the Joneses." Bob Entzion was going to be our presenter and he's having some problems so he sent a pinch hitter. Bob sent Pat Summers. I'm going to start out a little bit and then let Pat take over. While we're not going to solve any problems here today, it's my hope this topic will prompt some action.
Keeping up with the Joneses. Will it ever end or slow down? Can we survive without doing it? That's the competitive nature. The theme of this whole Convention seems to be identity and what we are all about. It reminds me about the wide-mouth frog. The wide-mouth, like us, likes to survey things and find out what's going on. The frog was going around the Sahara. He comes across the lion and says, "Hi, I'm a wide-mouth frog. What do you feed your babies?" The lion said, "I feed my babies people." "Thank you very much." He keeps hopping along and comes across a snake. He said, "Hi, I'm a wide-mouth frog. What do you feed your babies." The snake said, "I feed my babies wide-mouth frogs. Have you seen any lately?" That's what we're about. We're trying to find out what we are and then we're scared to death of who we are and what we're confronting and who we're confronting and what we have to deal with.
What I bring to you today are suggestions, and they are only intended for the purpose of stimulating conversation. How many times have we found ourselves looking across at our neighbor's yard and said I need one of those. They got a new car, a new boat and a new motor home. If you have to let me ask you what the difference this made in the quality of your life, did it change it a lot or did it add stress. If you haven't worried about what the neighbors have, more power to you. If you haven't done it at home, are you doing it at work? If you are doing it at work, what are the consequences?
Coaches are coming in saying they need more salaries. They just surveyed all of the football coaches and they're the lowest paid football coaches. They just surveyed the basketball coaches and they're the lowest paid basketball coaches. They need more staff. Our rival just added another full-time football coach so they need another football coach. They need more budget. How many times do we end up taking care of those problems and then, at what expense
I've been at UNC for six years and we've gone through some budget cuts and some interesting ones. The only department that has suffered staffing rise has been the administrative part. We've kept the coaching staffs in tact because of our competitive nature, but we have taken a hit on the administrative side and it has stressed the administrative team. The bright side of this is that I can look back and all of those coaches who we kept their budgets and salaries in tact will be forever thankful. If you can believe that, I've got another thing I can sell you.
Maybe this session should be called living within your means. How about your coaches? Are they living within their means? Have you empowered your coaches? It's a good question. Are we, as administrators, killing ourselves trying to keep up with each other? If the answer is yes, do we need to stop and is it ever going to end? Every survey we do prompts a response. It doesn't matter what you do, when you get a survey, if you're at the bottom of that survey, whether it's your football coach or basketball coach, if it's your grant-in-aid, you try to take action because of our competitive nature to get us up to the top or in the middle or out of last place. The first time you do that, the first survey that goes out the next year, the guy at the bottom will be working to get out of last place. Somebody will always be in last place. Maybe we have to worry that if you're not moving forward, you're moving backwards. It's an arms race and it's a crazy arms race.
We have a situation in our conference that the volleyball coaches made a proposal to increase the travel party. It was supported by the coaches and by the senior women's administrators. It came to the conference council and it was turned down. My concern was, why are we going to turn around and put a larger travel party on the road, spend more money? Let's take a look at the statistics and see how many times have we played somebody that isn't the 12th player on the team to begin with. When I got to UNC, in basketball, we travel 12 players. The first year I was there, I had my sports information director go back and tell me how many times the 11th and 12th on the travel squad played on a road conference game. Over a two-year period, not one single time did the 11th or 12th player play on the road.
We flew that individual there, we housed that individual, we fed that individual and they did not get a playing experience out of it. We changed it. Internally, at UNC, we said they're going to travel with 10 players. If they want to travel with an 11th or 12th player, go to the enhancement account. We have an enhancement account where they have to raise money. They could also go to their camp account.
A basketball coach came to me and said it would kill us. I told him that maybe it will and maybe it won't, but we're going to move forward with this. If it's important enough, they can go to the camp account and pull the money. The first year, for the first conference road trip, he went into his camp account and took and 11th player. He came back and said, "I don't need to do this anymore." When it came out of his pocket, it made a big difference than when it came out of my pocket.
Another thing we did was with equipment. Every sport had it's own equipment budget with the exception of some of the women's sports. They didn't have any equipment budget and some sports had healthy equipment budgets. They never spent the money. We have an equipment manager. We took every dollar that was designated for equipment and moved it over to the equipment manager and told him to be responsible for the $60,000 in equipment money. He would control it and decide what the coaches need and if there were a disagreement, we would meet. Since then, I've not had a single coach come in and say to me, "Mick doesn't understand what we need. Mick thinks we only need this and I think we need more than that."
This has allowed us to distribute the equipment dollars in a gender equity fashion so that when I do my EDA Report, we've now reached proportionality in expenditures. The other thing is that Mick has much better control over what gets purchased. We are much more efficient in our purchasing because now, he purchases equipment for everybody. We've got consistency in colors, in logos and the coaches have to meet with him. Before, everybody had their own and they were constantly coming in saying they needed more equipment money. They weren't spending what they had. When the swimming coach came in and asked for a dollar for equipment, it made sense. Swimmers were buying their own uniforms. Basketball had this equipment money which wasn't spent.
We made some changes. It's important that we take a look and create a win/win situation. I thought that was interesting when Stephen Covey talked about win/win situations. We, as administrators, need to take a look at win/win situations because keeping up with the Joneses is not creating win/win situations for ourselves. We're killing ourselves with it.
We need to take a look at what the important things are. We do need to work on facility enhancement. That's something we talk about and hear about, but we need to keep up with facilities. Are some of those other things that critical? Do we need to be spending all of our time and efforts raising more money for recruitment dollars in a particular sport or taking those dollars from someplace else?
It's critical we look at what our mission statement is and the philosophy of Division II. I loved it yesterday when Keith Jackson said, "If you don't know where you're going, you're going to end up somewhere else." We must define ourselves. It reminds me about the turtle story. A turtle goes up to a tree. They're slow, but the turtle climbs up the tree, gets to the top and goes onto the branch and falls to the ground. He goes over to the tree again, climbs up and falls down. A couple of birds are sitting there and say, "We've got to tell him that he's adopted." We've got to find out what our identity is. We've got to establish our identity and know who we are. Can we identify ourselves or is somebody else doing it for us or are we going aimlessly around?
As a group of associates, we should be looking at developing a strategy that will make it possible for all of us to live within our means. It's important to understand the efforts to deal with the matter of living within the means and it's something that we, as administrators, have to deal with time in and time out. It can't be done by one athletics director on one campus. It's got to be a focus and an emphasis. We're not going to solve the problem here, but we need to take the problem and the challenge out with us. We need to dialogue as administrators and try to get this done.
I recently did a survey on grant-in-aids within our conference. It's interesting how you take statistics and mix and match them. The two schools that spend the most amounts of dollars on athletics grant-in-aid in our conference are Morningside College and Augustana College. They spend, by far, the most money on athletics grant-in-aid. The two schools that are ninth and 10th in the conference in equivalencies are Morningside and Augustana because they're private schools. If we were to do a survey on dollars, we at the University of Northern Colorado ended up in fourth place on dollars spent. We also ended up in fourth place in equivalencies across the board. We need to think about what we're asking and what it is that we want to find out.
Earlier today, you were asked how many of you assist your fifth year students. A lot of hands went up. My question to you is, do you assist all of them? Do you give them athletics grant-in-aid? Do you give them a work job in that process? I'll bet if we asked you if you do it for all of the student-athletes that have exhausted their eligibility, the hands would drop down. I would venture to say that if we asked you if you give them grants-in-aid, hands would drop down. If you were assisting them with a job, maybe a few more hands would go up. We need to be careful what we're asking. We need to know who we are and we need to know where we're going.
(This portion of the presentation was inaudible.)