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NAAC Announces 2018 Award Winners

May 8, 2018

CLEVELAND - The National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) has announced its 2018 award winners: Frank Kara Leadership Award – Susan Peal, director of governance, national letter of intent, NCAA; Mike Cleary Organizational Leadership Award – Jon Duncan, vice president of enforcement, NCAA; Rising Star Award – Jake Munick, associate athletics director, compliance, Dartmouth College & Jeremy Christoffels, assistant commissioner for compliance, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference; and the Division II Excellence Award – Darnell Smith, assistant athletics director – compliance, University of Central Oklahoma.

The award winners will be honored Wednesday, June 27 during the NAAC Convention at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington, D.C.

“On behalf of the NAAC Board and Awards Committee, I am honored to announce our 2018 NAAC Award recipients,” stated Eric Schneider, Membership and Awards Committee chair, and assistant athletics director for compliance at the University of Connecticut. “We are humbled to have so many deserving individuals working in and supporting our profession. Congratulations to all of our winners for their commendable achievements and thank you the individuals willing to take the time to nominate them. We look forward to celebrating our honorees at the 2018 NAAC Convention.”

The Frank Kara Award is NAAC’s premier award. It is the highest honor that may be bestowed upon compliance professionals. This award, given annually, is named in honor of former University of Minnesota Director of Compliance Frank Kara who was a leader in the compliance field and best known for hosting the inaugural NAAC Workshop in 2006. Sadly, Frank lost his battle with cancer at the age of 40.

Susan Peal has managed all aspects of the National Letter of Intent (NLI) Program for 655 Division I and II member institutions, 56 conferences and over 46,000 signees since October 2007. Peal returned to the NCAA national office in 2007 after serving as assistant athletics director for compliance at The Ohio State University. Prior to Ohio State, Peal was an associate director in academic and membership affairs at the NCAA where she served as a staff liaison for multiple Division I, II and III governance committees while assisting member institutions and conferences with NCAA legislation, education outreach and athletic certification. Before joining the NCAA staff, Peal was associate athletics director for compliance/SWA at Charleston Southern University. She was also an assistant women's basketball coach at Charleston Southern and Winthrop University. Peal is a graduate of Alderson Broaddus University and received her master’s degree from Winthrop University. Peal is an active participant with national organizations offering her assistance to Women Leaders in College Sports and NAAC. Peal previously served on the faculty for the Institutes for Administrative Advancement and as a member of the Nominating Committee, in addition to assisting with resume services and career coaching. Peal has also served many years on NAAC’s Convention Committee.

The Rising Star Award recognized young compliance professionals who are considered to be emerging leaders within the compliance profession.

Jake Munick, a member of Dartmouth College’s athletics department since April 2013, was named associate athletics director in April 2018. In this role, he oversees the compliance office, equipment room and the execution of equipment contracts. Shortly after his hire, Munick has been responsible for all aspects of the compliance office at Dartmouth College and charged with educating, monitoring, reporting and overseeing all compliance-related activities associated with NCAA, Ivy League and institutional rules and regulations. Munick came to Dartmouth after earning a master’s degree in sport and recreation management at Temple University while also serving as the graduate assistant for compliance. Prior to his time at Temple, he graduated from Widener University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was an accomplished track & field student-athlete where he excelled in the hammer throw, obtaining multiple school and conference records.

Jeremy Christoffels was named the assistant commissioner for compliance at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) in June 2017.  In this role, Christoffels manages infractions and interpretation requests from all 16-member institutions in the upper midwest.  Additionally, he serves as the sport director for women’s soccer, wrestling and women’s tennis.  Prior to the NSIC, he was the assistant athletic director for compliance at the University of Mary where he handled all aspects of the institution’s compliance operation for all 17 athletic programs and over 400 student-athletes.  Christoffels was a graduate intern in the athletics compliance office at Minnesota State University through his graduation in Spring 2016.

The Division II Excellence Award is a prestigious annual award given to a compliance professional who is a leader in the compliance field at the Division II level.

Darnell Smith was named assistant athletics director for compliance at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2010. He handles all aspects of the university’s athletic compliance and student services programs for 15 athletic teams and over 400 student-athletes while also serving as the sport administrator for women’s track and field and women’s cross country and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Nationally, Smith has been active promoting and supporting compliance efforts for Division II. He is an integral part to advancing the mission, values, and vision of NAAC. He currently serves on the NAAC Education Committee, as well as the NAAC Membership/Awards Committee. In addition to his involvement in NAAC, Smith serves on the following NCAA committees - Division II Legislation Committee, Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant Selection Committee and the Region V Postgraduate Scholarship Selection Committee.

The Mike Cleary Organizational Leadership Award is named after former NACDA Executive Director, Mike Cleary, and is given to an organizational leader (i.e., athletics director, general counsel, provost, president, commissioner, NCAA executive) who has demonstrated NCAA compliance leadership and a strong commitment to fostering a culture of compliance to NCAA rules within their organization.

Jon Duncan became the vice president of enforcement in March 2014 after serving in an interim role since March 2013. Before coming to the NCAA, he was a partner at the Kansas City, Missouri-based law firm of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP, where he had practiced since 2003. Previously, he spent five years at another Kansas City firm, Husch Blackwell, where education and sports were the core of his work. He first represented the NCAA in litigation in 1998, and since then has served as a legal advisor for the NCAA and offered legal counsel to its committees, working groups and task forces. Duncan attended William Jewell College – now part of Division II – and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1995, where he was a published member of the Kansas Law Review.

About NAAC: NAAC is in its 20th year and serves as the professional and educational association of senior compliance administrators. For more information on NAAC, please visit www.naaccompliance.com. NAAC is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under the umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.