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NACDA's 40th Anniversary Convention Opens

June 16, 2005

Lake Buena Vista, Florida - The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) kicked off its 40th Anniversary Convention earlier today, attracting close to 2,000 administrators.

The Opening Session featured humorist Jeanne Robertson, who specializes in humor based on her life experiences. Respected in her field, Robertson has earned significant recognition from her peers. In 1989, she was the first woman to earn the Cavett Award, the highest honor bestowed by the National Speakers Association (NSA). She also served as president of the NSA in 1985-86 and was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1981. A graduate of Auburn University, Robertson was named the 2001 North Carolinian of the Year and was selected as Auburn's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000.

The Miss Congeniality winner in the Miss America Pageant shared her personal experiences and anecdotes with collegiate athletics administrators across the county. Robertson noted that the key to having a sense of humor "begins with laughing at ourselves."

She added, "I am here to today to remind you, just like I have to remind myself, that if you are not using your sense of humor on a daily basis you are not using your largest asset."

Her message included three key points to surviving the stresses of everyday life and the importance of maintaining a sense of humor. Robertson emphasized, "In addition to laughing at ourselves and accepting the things about ourselves and the people around us that we cannot change, it is important to keep a smile on our face."

NACDA's general session entitled, Hazing - A Tradition That's Worn Out its Welcome? was moderated by NACDA 2nd Vice President Lee McElroy, athletics director at the University at Albany; and featured a panel which included Elizabeth Allen, assistant professor - higher education leadership at the University of Maine; Rick Farnham, former athletics director at the University of Vermont; and Susan Lipkins, author of The Perfect Storm Theory of Hazardous Hazing.

All three speakers touched on the importance of addressing the issue of the intense hazing culture within intercollegiate athletics. Allen kicked off the session defining hazing and provided significant statistics from a pilot research study. She proceeded by asserting that, "Most students do not equate hazing with being wrong; they are in that stage of development that if it is not against the law, it is not wrong."

Farnham continued the session by providing his personal experience at the University of Vermont where, in 2000, the entire hockey season was cancelled due to a hazing incident that resulted in a lawsuit against the university. Farnham gave advice as to how the "athletics department needs to take care of its own house." Farnham reiterated Allen's remarks of how important it was that "students accept and recognize the definition of hazing."

As a final note, Farnham encouraged athletics administrators to be proactive. He pointed out that "the leadership and courage to make a difference starts with you."

Wrapping up the session was Lipkins who provided a video documentary and spoke of how hazing was a continuous process in which victims turn into bystanders, who then ultimately turn into perpetrators. She urged the athletics administrators to send a clear signal against hazing and the consequences. Lipkins indicated, "As ADs, it is your responsibility to set the tone and to set your coaches and athletes straight." She continued by saying, "It's not what you say, but what you do that counts. You have the power and control, and it is your responsibility to convey the message that hazing is a lose-lose situation."

The Thursday luncheon featured the presentation of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award, which is presented annually to the athletics administrator who through the years has most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment." Corbett, former athletics director at Louisiana State University, was NACDA's first president in 1965.

The highest honor one can achieve for athletics administration, the 2005 James J. Corbett Award was presented to Bob Bronzan, retired director of athletics from San Jose State University.

In accepting, Bronzan said, "Receiving the Corbett Award has three special meanings to me. First, Jim was a dear friend. Secondly, this award crowns 65 years of being involved with intercollegiate athletics. And thirdly, it's a tribute from peers, and that means so much."

Also presented at the luncheon was the NACDA/NIT Athletics Directors Award, to Gene Bartow, retired director of athletics from the University of Alabama Birmingham; the SportsBusiness Journal Athletics Director of the Year Award to DeLoss Dodds, men's director of athletics at the University of Texas; the Coca-Cola Community All-American Awards; and the GeneralSports TURF Systems AD of the Year Awards. Serving as luncheon emcee was Ann Meyers-Drysdale of ESPN.

The NACDA/NIT Award is presented to an athletics administrator who has made significant contributions to basketball and the National Invitation Tournament.

This is the second year of the Coca-Cola Community All-American Awards. The program is designed to help institutions recognize, celebrate and applaud student-athletes who are making a difference in their communities. The program honors six student-athletes, one from each of the following categories, NCAA Division I-A, I-AA/I-AAA, II, III, NAIA and Junior/Community College. Winners of the 2004-05 Coca-Cola Community All-American Awards were:

Sarah Carlson Boston College Division I-A
Erin Ashton East Tennessee State University Division I-AAA
Crystal Covington Emporia State University Division II
Hannah Leigh Williams Shenandoah University Division III
Megan Miller Mills College NAIA
Traci McLester Hill College JC/CC

The GeneralSports TURF Systems AD of the Year Award is in its seventh year. The program was created to highlight the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to campuses and their surrounding communities. The program honors 25 regional winners.

Winners of the 2004-05 GeneralSports TURF Systems AD of the Year Award were:

Division I-A
Jake Crouthamel Syracuse University Northeast
DeLoss Dodds University of Texas West
Dave Hart, Jr. Florida State University Southeast
Tim Weiser Kansas State University Central
Division I-AA/I-AAA
Scott Barnes Eastern Washington University West
Susan Hofacre Robert Morris University Northeast
Andrea Myers Indiana State University Central
Alan White Elon University Southeast
Division II
Michael Covone Barry University Southeast
Loren Ferre Washburn University Central
Dan Gavitt Bryant University Northeast
Barbara Schroeder Regis University West
Division III
Larry Bock Juniata College Central
Scott Carnahan Linfield College West
Suzanne Coffey Bates College Northeast
Kevin McHugh College of New Jersey Southeast
Craig Bogar University of Mobile Southeast
Carroll Land Point Loma Nazarene University West
Pete Reese Cedarville University Northeast
Bryan Rizzo Madonna University Central
Junior/Community College
Bob Bottger St. Louis Community College Meramec Central
Scott Geddis Phoenix College West
Dan Minch Broome Community College Northeast
Robert Zelinski Central Florida Community College Southeast
Luc Gelineau University of Ottawa

The Convention continues on Friday with the Keynote Address by Tim Russert of NBC News and the presentation of the Sports Academy Directors' Cups.