||36th NACDA Convention|
Salt Lake City, Utah
June 10-13, 2001
Junior/Community Colleges Breakout Session
Brainstorming Session - Who has the Solution to Your Problems
Monday, June 11, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Good morning. My name is Ron Case. I am the athletics director at Gloucester County College. Our topic this morning is Who has the Solution to Your Problems. We used to have a session where we got together and brainstormed about common problems. It was interesting to have Larry on before me this morning because one of the problems I foresee that could be a complete disaster to us is the 15-passenger van issue. I have given each of you a handout. I brought with me the announcement I saw on the web site one day that talks about a consumer advisory from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Basically, they've issued a cautionary warning about the use of 15-passenger vans because of increased rollovers. Under certain circumstances, this happens. My first thought is, if some risk manager gets a hold of this, we're in trouble. It isn't just two-year colleges; Division III schools and Division I schools use 15-passenger vans also.
They say the risk of rollover increases dramatically when the number of occupants increases from fewer than five occupants to 10 passengers. Fifteen passenger vans with 10 or more occupants had a rollover rate three times the rate of those that were lightly loaded. As you go on to read the article, you'll find on the back page, there is a season of serious van accidents. They went from December 29, 1999 to March 29, 2000, only three months and they document six 15-passenger vehicle accidents with college athletes involved. In each case, there was ice on the road. In each case, drivers were driving too fast for the conditions. Those are very important things to realize. There is no guarantee that, had these people been involved with automobiles and they were driving at the same speed, that those accidents wouldn't have happened. However, you know how dramatic it is when something like this happens and you always pray it doesn't happen to you. I can see people seeing this and taking away 15-passenger van travel.
What happens to your athletics program if you have to take buses? I know what happens to mine. You're down to about one men's sport and one women's sport. We spent zero dollars on Gloucester County College this past year to support 13 teams. We traveled everyplace we went by 15-passenger vans, unless we had to fly. I'm sure the rest of you are under the same guidelines.
I asked Larry to stay for a few minutes to answer questions. It's obvious to me that someplace along the way we all need a safety training program. We need to get more involved with who's driving. Are we going to allow students to drive at all? Is the answer to hire professional drivers if the coach doesn't feel he can drive? I have coaches that come to me and say they can't see well at night. Are we going to start clamping down on our coaches and say they can't let these kids drive at 75 miles per hour.
I wrote down some of the things that have been pointed out. Number one, the bigger the load, the more sway there is. Do not load the vehicle in back as heavy. If you've got 12 kids, you don't put three or four of them in the back or a lot of equipment in the back. The biggest thing is when you come to curves, you can't drive 65, 70 or 75 miles per hour. You've got to slow down for climatic conditions. They also stated that you should have good tires. High quality rear tires made a big difference in the tip-over factor. These are things we all need to be aware of and maybe somebody already has a good program.
Comments from the floor are inaudible.
I've seen people in rowing loading the boats on top. Not only do they have the trailer, they have the boat on top.
I've also read that in some states, it is against the law to sell 15-passenger vans to schools K through 12 for transporting students. Dealers are prohibited from doing that. One of my concerns is that legislators will decide to make this law cover colleges. Once we're put to that point, it won't matter what types of license you have and then what happens to our programs?
One of the things mentioned was about maintenance and safety checks. Is there a form for these checks? If they do as good a maintenance on my vans as they do on their own cars, I'm in big trouble. I want to be the person to do the checking or find somebody to check the brakes.
From my standpoint, a good solid auto safety program is not that expensive. It starts with vehicle maintenance. There is somebody who is mechanical to check the brakes, the tires, etc. There's a check-off form and before you leave with the team, make sure that check-off list has been done.
Second, is the standard you use for choosing your drivers. You have a list of people who are eligible, get their current motor vehicle records. Check that against your criteria. That is very inexpensive. Thirdly, the most expensive part, is the actual safe driving guidelines. You can get a hold of driving safety videos. Insurance companies have them, but there are all kinds of safe driving tapes. They will make their drivers watch the video, take a test or at least make sure they paid attention. Make them sign off that you have covered that base. With the video, you can always have something for the next person you hire. There is turn around and the video will be available for any new person. Make sure you go through this. At the end of summer, make them review this video and sign off again. That way you can cover all three bases.
The tire checks are so important. My question is weather-related. It's one thing to know you can't pile everything on top of a van or tow a trailer behind you, but the other thing is judgement. If you've got ice on the road or blizzard conditions. Those judgement calls have to be made by somebody who is designated to be accountable for those judgement calls. Wind storms, ice storms, late at night, etc., all have to be looked into.
Don't be in such a hurry to get home after an event if you have to drive home. You're much better off staying where you are, letting things pass, getting the right driver, getting enough rest or whatever it is before you return.
From the Floor
What's a reasonable time for training?
A lot of organizations do it once a year. I think that is pretty good. If you have someone who wants to be a driver for a sport later in the year, you may want him or her to see the video closer to the time they will begin to drive. The more current they see the video and go through the checklist, the better off they'll be, so, you may do it more than once a year. If they watch the video and go through the checklist and sign off on it, you've got yourself covered.
I know that Larry has to run because he hasn't been in his office for several days.
How about hiring part-time people? Sometimes the cost of advertising for them is higher than what we can pay them. Some people are hiring people they would not have even interviewed 10 or 12 years ago. You spend a ton of money to advertise for the job "part-time coach wanted." You think you're making it attractive. Maybe one person will apply. It may cost you $1,000 to advertise and you're only going to pay the person a little more than that. I'm not sure it's only the money that is an issue, some of it is the time commitment, etc. Does anybody have any solutions for attacking that problem?
From the Floor
We all have that problem. We went through four basketball coaches in four years. Other schools hired them. I hired a guy where ours was the only job he could get. It was because of his time. He's an excellent basketball coach and he was a great college player, but he works until 500 p.m. At our place, that's fine with me. I think I'll be able to hang on to him. If you can find somebody in the community that is not education, hang on to him.
I went through three outdoor field and track coaches from January 25 to April 25. Now, the Board of Trustees has to approve all of these people. At some point in time, they are going to wonder what kind of guy I am to work for. A guy quits with two meets to go. He has something else to do.
From the Floor
There are some professional web sites out there that actually border on certain sports. We advertised for a part-time football coach for a $4,000 stipend. We had 37 calls in a 24-hour period. There are a lot of people using professional web sites for opportunities. We've had some good inquiries.
One of the problems is that we don't pay as much as some high schools. Maybe a kid can coach eighth grade basketball and make as much as being your assistant basketball coach and you want him to recruit and scout and work weekends. Maybe you would be able to say, you're at the college level. Now, it seems like it's not the money that's the difference, it's the time commitment. No matter what level you're at, if you don't go out and get the kids and you just take what comes to you, you all know what your success level is going to be. You've got to show an interest in them somehow. I don't know if it's a changing society or there are so many sports now and so many programs, they are filling up the spots.
From the Floor
There's an advantage by going with a stipend. There are no set hours. It's a matter of doing the job. For $6,000 you're going to be the assistant basketball coach and you will do what is required to do that. Then, if it's a part-time hourly contract, they fall under all of the other things under the part-time classified staff, but coaching stipends do not count into that number of hours.
The only place you can run into a problem is with the 40-hour classified staff employee. You run into all kinds of fair labor laws. Then, you've got to look at overtime if you are at a 40-hour job. That's when we drop into 15 and 20 hours, the coaching stipends do not count into the hours they use.
I found our people do not want you to use the local high schools, they want us to compare with the other community colleges. Every year, John Stauff does a conference and region salary schedule for us. If you're in the middle of the schedule and you're not at the bottom, you stay there because the guy at John's school is using the same schedule. What happens is the high schools get their five- percent raise and your guys don't move at all.
Another question that has come up is, in 2003, the scoreboard issue for basketball. If you're not familiar with this, the NCAA rule is now going to be that everyone's basketball scoreboards must have the tenth of a second function on them and you also must have your shot clock mounted on the backboard. You're sitting on how you're going to have bus transportation and how are you going to pay your coaches, now suddenly you have to replace two basketball scoreboards that may be very new. As you heard Gary Graham in our NATYCAA corporate breakout, Daktronics just changed a chip and it sends a different message to the scoreboard. You only have to worry about mounting the start clocks on the brackets and get the red light to go off when the period ends. However, if you don't have any of these things, you're now looking at $20,000 in expenses. Has there been any talk in the NJCAA about making an exception to that or do they really want everyone to make that change?
Many of us would like to get new scoreboards, but many of us do not have the funds and don't want to take money from football or some other sport. For many of our schools, hopefully, they will give us time to make any changes.
Last year, we attended a program in Washington for the AACC convention about being proactive for your programs. It was very well attended by college presidents. Basically, I tried to point out some of the financial equations that some of them seemed to be blind to in terms of the number of FTEs created by full-time athletes. You'd be surprised at how many never thought of that. What kind of money do 200 full-time athletes bring in? You can make the argument that every athlete brings two kids with him, etc. Even if you don't buy that, just take the athletes themselves and figure the money they get reimbursed from the state and what they bring in and the positive publicity they create. I found the reaction to that was great and there were many questions. We have to try to convince people that this isn't just an activity, it really brings in students. This is America in the year 2001 and there is a lot of interest at the local high schools. How will you get the local high school students to come to your school if you don't have athletics? They won't come if you don't build a lot of support.
Comments from the floor were inaudible.
If you can find a way to get your presidents to buy into a statement of support where you can get the supporters to lean on those who may be a little weak-kneed about support, that would be a very important factor. At least they bought in somehow. That is a very good idea and it takes a strong commitment.
Comments from the floor were inaudible.