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Junior/Community Colleges Breakout
What's New - Corporate Corner, NCAA Issues Affecting Junior Colleges, New Concepts in State Collegiate Athletics Associations
(Tuesday, June 15, 10:45 - 11:45 a.m.)

Brian Farrell:

We'll begin today's discussion with Warren Hansen from Cuesta College who will speak on corporate signage.

Warren Hansen:

I'll try to keep this moving quickly. During the last several years, our athletics budget has been extremely stressed, probably not unlike some of the rest of you. Like many of you, I've looked at other methods of trying to get my hands on some money so that I don't have to cancel any programs. We originally started off with a fund raiser to do this. That, in itself, was costly. We had the decision of whether we take that over and do it ourselves with a lot more work, or do we go out and find another fund raiser. We elected to do that ourselves and maximize the income. There have been some positive results.

Some of the things I want to talk to you about are things that I think are a bit strange in educational athletics and certainly all have been prohibited at Cuesta College in years prior to this. Some of the positives that have resulted are that we've been able to generate anywhere between $50 and $70,000 additional income for our program. We're at a point now where we can fund our operational budget and have some money left over to put into capital expenditures.

I find this is relatively easy in comparison to other fund raisers I've done in the past. One of the side benefits is that it has given me an opportunity for some interaction in the community that I didn't make a priority.

On the negative side, any fund raiser adds to the workload, of course. There is a lot of accounting and billing to do. Our secretaries weren't hired with that expertise in mind. Although they have adapted very well, they're still learning that process. As it was a positive, it was also a negative as far as being a non-traditional approach, because you get criticism from a certain segment of the community.

I want to start off with uniform logos. You play under NCAA rules and, of course, you know that the NCAA prohibits logos on your uniforms. I'll hand out to you some of the guiding principles that have been approved by our conference for that. Although the NCAA prohibits this, start watching the bowl games. Do you see FedEx on those uniforms? Do you see Thrifty Car Rental on those uniforms? There are exceptions on the NCAA level, too.

Years ago, we didn't consider logos on uniforms. Now, we're doing it. I don't think that it's wrong. In Europe, this is standard operating procedure. The idea came to me from our basketball coach who had a professional coaching career in Europe. U.S. auto racing does this. We don't want to look like a billboard uniform, but it's done in a lot of other sports including youth leagues. There's some cracks in the NCAA area too. In California, our rules are silent on this issue as far as the state is concerned. We do play by NCAA standards, but we can make exceptions to those as long as it doesn't affect the play of the game. Our conference has elected to do that.

Going on to signage on the courts. I have a handout here that gives the specifications on if you want to put a major sponsor on your basketball court, you can do that in the Western State Conference. We haven't been able to attract anybody with that kind of money yet. Obviously, for us to put a painted sign on the basketball court, we'll need quite a bit of money. We're looking at $25,000 per year for a couple of years before we want to refinish the floor and make that happen. We give the corporate sponsor a lot of other exposure in addition to this. Our current contract is $12,000 per year for that. We're going to be negotiating with them later this month asking that to go up to $15,000. We have a three-year relationship with them and are looking to go to our fourth. We have quarterly meetings with them where we brainstorm how to make this a win/win situation. That is a real key.

We still have the programs where we go out and ask for donations to our programs where they get nothing in return. There are a lot of people out there who want value. What's in it for them? We're trying to make this a win/win situation. We've gotten a lot of exposure through newsletters for our special events in athletics that we didn't have before.

Billboard signage is where we create the bulk of our income. Location, location, location is the key and a non-traditional approach. When we think of signage of the baseball or softball complex, all of us would agree inside the outfield fence facing the spectators is best. We don't put ours there. We put ours on the outside of the fence facing a frontage road, a freeway, so they get exposure 365 days a year, 24-hours a day. We market it that way. We locate them for high visibility. We give them three signs. One at the softball complex that faces the freeway, or a choice of the baseball field or the pool.

A client gets three signs, one in each one of those three positions. We collect $1,500 a year from them. We handle all of the manufacturing of the signs to assure uniformity and quality control. They are limited to two colors and it's a 3' x 8' sign. We put it on board with vinyl. It's lightweight and easy to work with. The downside is after a couple of years, they start becoming a little sun damaged. There will be replacement costs there.

To minimize the billings, we give them a discount if they'll pay us up front for the year.

They used to be able to pay monthly, quarterly. Now, most of them will pay up front for the year and collect the discount. We still have a few on quarterly pays, not monthly pays.

The cost for production on those signs are $125 to $140 each depending on the amount of artwork they have to put into it. The nice thing about this is repeat business. It's an easy sell. After I go out and meet with them and get to know them and them me, the second time around, I pick up the telephone and get about 90 percent repeat business. We don't have the production cost the second year, so the profit margin is much greater. We have between 20 and 25 signs sold. That's going to equate around $25,000 or $30,000 for us just on that program. That's been very good for us.

I'm sure you realize there's some criticism with all of this. A few years ago, we couldn't put signs up on any of our venues. The Board of Trustees wouldn't allow it. Finally, the Board changed. We kept hammering them about it and they have approved it. I've put all of the signage in athletics areas.

Kevin Hayes:

Good morning. I'm Kevin Hayes, the athletics director from Baltimore City Community College. Following what Warren said, there are a lot of corporate opportunities out there. As community college athletics directors, we face very interesting and challenging dilemmas. Our time is tight and the administration is not always thinking about athletics as their first thought. We all know that. One of the things we have to do is to help ourselves. The corporation signage that Warren talked about is a great program.

Another program we found through some trial and error is the corporate apparel endorsement agreement. I just read where Florida State and Nike signed a $20 million deal. I talked to a lot of athletics directors and tell them about what we've done at Baltimore City Community College. The first thing they say is that Nike won't come in here and pay us $20 million. Obviously, they're not going to and we all realize that.

There are some things we can do. At Baltimore City Community College, we struck a very good deal with Reebok International. Reebok has been an incredible company to work with. I know they are aggressively seeking to get into the junior and community college market, as is adidas. Ron and his folks have done a great deal in getting adidas involved with NATYCCA. I've seen it a lot on the shirts and hats. adidas is a great company too. They do a lot of things.

Basically, the standard agreement is that a company will come in once you work with them and it's an all-school, all-sport deal. Typically, manufacturers don't like to come in and see our basketball coach one week and your baseball coach the next week and your volleyball coach three weeks after. They would be a lot more willing to sit down and work with you if it's an all-school, all-sport deal. If you have 12 sports, that saves them 11 times having to come out and get it done. Also, too, if you do this as the athletics director, it gives you a sense of purpose within the department. It's a team decision.

I knew coming in I wanted to do this. I knew I wanted an all-school, all-sport deal with somebody. I called Nike, Reebok, adidas and Converse. I called the big people in the industry. I told them we're looking to help grow this within the state of Maryland, within our region, within the NATYCCA. We need to know whether it's going to be worth our while. I told them to send me their best proposal. I got all of the proposals in. I sat down with the head coaches and explained to them that this was in our best interest and we're going to save a lot of money. This money could go for recruiting, for travel, supplies or whatever we need. This was something that I feel very strongly about. I heard the common things like, "I like to pick my own things, this is my budget." Once I sat down and talked to them and said, "Look, this makes the best sense to us across the board." Equity-wise, by sport, no matter if the sport is 50 years old or two seasons old, this makes sense for us to do. I left the room and left them with the proposals. I came back and answered a few questions. They overwhelmingly decided on Reebok.

Reebok has put us on a NCAA Division I-level program. We receive no money. I don't know of any community college in the entire country that would receive money from them. What we do get is free product, massive discounts on team uniforms, shoes, etc. The athletics director and staff are outfitted. Personally, I get three golf shirts, three long-sleeve polo's, a jacket and shoes. Your coaches are outfitted. The biggest thing in the price is that, typically, an athletics shoe company or a team dealer will discount you 25 percent if you're a very good customer. Reebok has taken that to 50 or 60 percent. You're going to save an additional 15 to 25 percent based off the team rates if you will get together the all-school, all-sport concept.

It's more difficult to sell the coaches than to sell the shoe companies. The shoe companies want to do business with you. They really do. In our case, we were fortunate enough because we had some uniforms that needed to be replaced so we got Reebok team uniforms. We got basketball uniforms with material like the professionals wear. They are a nice heavy mesh type of material. Most teams would have to pay anywhere from $175 to $190 for these uniforms. We got them for $85 apiece because we're on Reebok's top-tier university Division I program.

It's wonderful to share with all of you as athletics directors. It's something you should consider in your program. Again, it's going to be difficult to sell your coaches depending on what type of athletics department you have. I tell you, it will save you a ton of time. You're going through one dealer; you're focusing on one type of product. You're ordering the same type of shirts, whether it's a coach's shirt, scarlet red, etc. You don't have to worry about this team is with this manufacturer; this team is with that manufacturing. I'm buying things here and there.

Before I was doing this, I probably dealt with eight or 10 sporting goods dealers. It was driving me crazy. Now, I deal with one. He knows if he messes up our delivery schedule, he messes up the pricing, he's losing. Not only is he losing 15 pairs of shoes from our men's basketball team, he's losing out on the entire athletics department. So, he is much more motivated to serve our needs. Reebok is the same way. They would not send a rep out to call on a community college basketball team, but they'll send a dedicated rep out to speak to an athletics director about an entire college.

Again, it's something that is well worth the effort. I've got all of the information here and I'd be more than happy to speak with any of you about it. It's something that I found saved me a lot of time, a lot of money and a tremendous amount of headache. Again, thank you for your time and attention.

Brian Farrell:

Both Warren and Kevin have handouts for you. Our third topic is "New Concepts in State Athletics Associations" and it will be presented by Ron Case from Gloucester Community College and John Kuntz from Sussex County Community College in New Jersey. Both are members of the Collegiate Athletics Administrators of New Jersey.

Ron Case:

I'll try to keep my comments very brief. In the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey is all of the college athletics administrators in New Jersey. All colleges belong. It's a concept that was founded about 15 years ago. Several of our members have been the president of the organization. Seldom, we think, in most states do the Division I athletics directors associate at the level like this. We've been able to foster a great deal of camaraderie and a professionalism between all of the groups. What John's going to be talking about today is a concept that our group came up with about three years ago to mirror the Sears Cup called the CAANJ Cup. We were able to get the Meadowlands to sponsor this cup. We put competition in between all of the community colleges as one sector, between Division I and Division II and between Division III and NAIA. We have a large and successful Division III sector. We have several Division I schools and it's proved to be a very interesting concept. John will talk a little bit about that.

We won the inaugural cup at Gloucester Community College for community colleges. Ryder University won the first Division I and the College of New Jersey, which some of you know as Trenton State, won the Division III cup. For us, it was great publicity-wise. It created what we thought it might. We had a nice article in the Philadelphia Enquirer about the three cup winners. We were the closest. They took a picture of me, along with some of our national championship trophies, which appeared in the newspaper. On the day they presented the cup, our local newspaper sports person went up to the banquet with us as well as several of our Board of Trustees members and the president of our foundation. The next morning, the Yankees had won the World Series. The lead story in the local newspaper in the sports section was the best in New Jersey, a story about Gloucester County athletics department winning the cup. The second story on the sports page was that the Yankees won the World Series. That can have some real positive publicity effect for you. Our president was running this future search conference at the time and I was able to tell him the next morning about our story in the newspaper. This was certainly an example of how you build the image of a college. It is fortunate and it has created some good competition amongst the schools.

I will now let John talk about the Sears Directors' Cup.

John Kuntz:

Thanks Ron. This is a very unique organization in our state, which, as Ron said, encompasses practically every college at every level, Division III, Division I, NAIA and two-year schools. We had a unique charge during my presidency of the organization. I was to try to come up with an award modeled after the Sears Cup and incorporate all of these schools. We had a small committee and worked on it for over a year.

We needed to come up with a sponsor, first of all. Mike Graime, from the Meadowlands in New Jersey was very gracious to us when we approached him. The Meadowlands agreed to sponsor the cups. We get approximately $1,000 from the Meadowlands on an annual basis. That provides the funds to purchase these three cups that will be awarded at our fall meeting.

This organization only meets twice a year. In the fall, we have a meeting session, a luncheon where we present some awards including these cups. We have a spring golf outing. The good thing about this organization is that it's almost like NACDA, where you're treated as an equal. The two-year guys in the state of New Jersey serve on the Executive Board of the committee. They can become the presidents of this committee. It's great networking, as well.

Getting back to the awards, they are presented at the fall meeting. The scoring procedure needed some adjustments, especially with the two-year schools because there are so many varieties and discrepancies. Some schools have larger programs. Some schools, like mine, have only a five-sport program. We tried to figure out a way that would be equal amongst all of us. It was quite difficult, but the idea behind the award was to recognize broad-based programs. We were hoping the schools that don't have a large number of programs would work toward adding teams to their programs.

With the two-year colleges, each college is required to pick six sports, three males and three females. They need to record and after the year is over, pick their best six sports. You get conference points. If you finished first in your conference, that was worth 10 points. If you finish second, you get nine points, etc. You also get points for competing at the national tournament. You get points for winning the national tournament. At the end of the year, these points are totaled up and sent to one person. At the two-year level in New Jersey, it goes to John Stauff at Ocean County College. He computes everything and we then come up with a winner.

As Ron said, his school was the one that was recognized last year and I believe is in the running again for this year.

It's something that has worked well. It's only been one year, so there will have to be some adjustments this coming year and next, but we finally did get it off the ground. We do have a sponsorship for it and it's something we're very excited about.

Brian Farrell:

Thank you so much John.

Warren Hansen:

The question from the floor was where are the corporate sponsors placed on the uniforms. You'll see they can't be close to a number in those standards. From uniform to uniform, since they change, the location will change. Some of the them will be on the shoulder. Some will be up high on the chest. Some might even go on a warm-up uniform. Swimming is exempt. Wrestling is on a warm-up suit. Some coaches are thinking about putting it on a travel bag. I've tried to avoid that because I don't think it gives maximum exposure. Many times, these logos appear in the paper with photographs from the news agencies.

Brian Farrell:

Thank you all for attending. It's very important for our organization to have you here. We really appreciate it. A quick thank you to the NACDA representatives for junior and community colleges with a special thank you to Ron and Warren for all of their help. I would like to give a special thanks to the NACDA staff, especially Pat Manak, who does such a great job for us. Thank you so much.