May 14, 2012
CLEVELAND – The National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) has announced its 2012 Award winners – Frank Kara Leadership Award - Julie Cromer, senior associate athletics director at the Indiana University; Organizational Leadership Award – Warde Manuel, director of athletics, University of Connecticut; Rising Star Award – Jermaine Truax, director of compliance and certification, Bowling Green State University; and the Division II Excellence Award – Carmen Leeds, senior associate athletics director/internal operations/SWA, Emporia State University. The award winners will be honored Monday, June 25 during the NAAC Convention at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
“We had a record number of individuals nominated for the 2012 NAAC Awards and on behalf of the Officers and Board, we want congratulate this year’s winners,” stated Awards Committee Chair Jennifer Condaras, assistant commissioner for compliance, Big East Conference. “As the compliance profession continues to be on the forefront of the rules and regulations at each institution, these individuals have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the compliance profession and were deserving nominees for their respective awards.”
The Frank Kara Leadership Award is NAAC’s most prestigious annual award and is named in honor of former University of Minnesota Director of Compliance, Frank Kara. Recipients display exceptional leadership and unique vision for compliance initiatives, as well as demonstrating a commitment to furthering the compliance profession through being instrumental in the revitalization of NAAC.
Julie Cromer’s leadership has been integral to the success NAAC has had the past five years. As the current 2nd VP for NAAC, Cromer has been actively engaged in intercollegiate athletics nationally, holding positions on the Enforcement Subgroup of the NCAA Collegiate Model Working Group and the Big Ten Sports Management and Legislative Review Committees. In addition to her NAAC Board responsibilities, she also serves on the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association Task Force on Compliance and the Education and Professional Development Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. Prior to her position at Indiana, Cromer had a distinguished tenure at the NCAA office, which she helped play a major role in the academic reform of the organization.
The Organizational Leadership Award was designed to honor organizational leaders who have demonstrated outstanding commitments to promoting compliance within their organizations and on a national level.
During his time at the University of Buffalo from 2006-12, Warde Manuel had an uncompromised commitment to NCAA rules compliance, which will continue to carry over at Connecticut. In September 2011, Manuel was one of three AD’s asked to serve on the Collegiate Model Rules Working Group, which was charged with reviewing the current NCAA Rules Manual. In addition, he has served on the NCAA DI Championships/Sports Management Cabinet and the NCAA Academic Cabinet, during which he was selected to serve as Chair of the Academic Eligibility & Compliance Transfer Ad Hoc Committee. When Manuel arrived at Buffalo four programs (football, men’s basketball, wrestling and baseball) fell far below the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) cut score of 925, with a focused academic plan, all four posted a four-year APR rate above the cut score at the end of 2009-10.
The Rising Star Award was designed to recognize young compliance professionals who are considered to be emerging leaders within the compliance profession.
Since his arrival at Bowling Green in the summer of 2010, Jermaine Truax has been integral to the senior administration staff. His commitment to rules education and the creative ways he interacts with the student-athletes and staff on legislative issues has been refreshing and helps everyone gain a better understanding of the rules in a user-friendly manner. Truax came to Bowling green after serving at the director of compliance at St. Bonaventure.
The Division II Excellence Award is NAAC’s most prestigious award for Division II compliance professionals. Recipients display exceptional leadership and unique vision for compliance initiatives, as well as demonstrating a commitment to furthering the compliance profession.
Carmen Leeds has served as the senior associate AD for internal operations/SWA at Emporia State since 2000. Leeds continues to be a leader both in her conference and nationally, staying abreast of compliance issues and not shying away from looking up interpretations and sharing best practices from her experiences. Nationally, she serves on the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and the Student-Athlete Affairs Advisory Committee. Leeds embodies the qualities that make a strong compliance professional – integrity, intelligence and a strong sense for the right way to do things.
About NAAC: NAAC is in its 14th year and serves as the professional and educational association of senior compliance administrators. For more information on NAAC, please visit www.naacconnect.com. NAAC is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 47th year. For more information on NACDA and the 11 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.