TO: PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE MEMBERS
FROM: THE COALITION ON INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (COIA; V. Shepherd & N. Tublitz, co-chairs)
RE: A REPORT TO THE NCAA PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE
The topics covered in these reports and the Task Force Subcommittee to which they relate are:
I. Fiscal responsibility (p. 3-4; Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility (SFR))
II. Financial issues concerning coaching staffs (pp. 5-7; SFR and Subcommittee on Presidential Leadership (SPL))
III. Presidential leadership (p. 8; SPL)
IV. Commercialization (p. 9; Subcommittee on Values and Standards (SVS))
V. Purpose and nature of the collegiate model (pp. 10-11; SVS)
VI. Conferences and national competitions (p. 12; SVS and SPL)
VII. Integration of athletics into the life of the campus (pp. 13-14; SVS)
VIII. Admissions and diversity: addressing the impact of high admissions and eligibility standards (pp. 15-16; SVS)
The need for a quick response dictated by the Task Force's schedule means that the input from COIA has not been discussed and approved by its member senates. Our comments are forwarded without this formal review and endorsement by the full membership because we recognize in the Task Force a rare opportunity to contribute to an important initiative for change in college sports. These reports represent the best efforts by COIA to offer constructive feedback in the time frame available.
The representatives of the COIA member senates have approved the following general statement:
The leadership of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics expresses strong support for the initial work of the NCAA Presidential Task Force. We see the Task Force shaping powerful new structures that can support national, regional, and local decision making about college sports. These new structures more closely reflect the values of our academic institutions, and so help college sports fulfill its appropriate role. The Task Force goals that we see as of greatest promise include:
a. Strengthening presidential leadership nationally by articulating the nature and core values of the collegiate model of athletics which is based on the priority of academics;
b. Building a national presidential leadership group to communicate those values and interpret their relevance to major national issues, and to support local decision making in line with those values;
c. Devising accounting templates, data collection, and data sharing that can increase fiscal transparency and promote fiscal responsibility in decision making and accountability;
d. Formulating best practice models to guide financial and other decision making on the national, regional, and local levels, and align it with core values;
e. Strengthening presidential leadership on the local level by involving faculty, academic administrators, and others committed to the values of the collegiate model in campus athletics governance, and working with all those involved with athletics to integrate athletics fully in the academic mission.
The Coalition leadership wishes to express thanks to the Task Force members for their commitment to this effort. The strong support of the NCAA and the active involvement of Athletics Directors and faculty athletics representatives with the work of the Task Force indicate a growing willingness to work together on problems of critical importance. We appreciate that COIA, as a national faculty governance-based group, has been included in this cooperative effort. We remain committed to contributing constructively to the work of the Task Force, and look forward to further opportunities to participate in this initiative.
I. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
We support the initiative of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility to seek increased transparency in athletics budgets and fiscal data, for local and national decision makers, and for constituencies with interests in athletics and institutional integrity. We strongly endorse revising and standardizing categories for national data collection, developing best practice guides to ensure that such data are optimally used in local and national decision making, and strengthening the NCAA recertification process to ensure that member schools are accountable for fiscal responsibility. The current Subcommittee draft reports do not clarify how transparency applies to information supplied to internal and external constituencies such as the faculty, alumni, students, and the public We recommend the goal be to provide to all constituencies with legitimate interests in the athletics enterprise the degree of access appropriate to their interest, both for informational and oversight purposes.
The categories of data collection outlined by the Subcommittee are thoughtful and impressively detailed. The question of what data to collect and how they could be deployed is complex, and the suggestions below are initial attempts to find ways to improve an excellent framework.
General comments on Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility Draft Reports
· Much of the information desired is currently reported as Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) data. The categories could be configured in such a way as to maximize use of this data to simplify the process and reduce cost. However, the accuracy of reported EADA data needs to be improved, and there should be common definitions of what data should be included under each category now used for EADA reporting.
· The Subcommittee draft implies the restoration of fiscal integrity as a category of NCAA recertification oversight, and we strongly support this; capital expenditures including debt service expenses should be included in recertification data.
· The Subcommittee or a successor group should develop a comparably detailed annual data reporting format for capital expenditures.
· The goal of using shared data to improve decision making requires that clear best-practice guidelines be developed; in particular, specific best practices should be developed that will help counter tendencies to use comparative salary data to raise salaries, even when athletics salary levels are higher than institutional values warrant. Such a best practice might, for example, prioritize the use of local salary structures as an initial framework for comparison.
· The Subcommittee should clarify how “base” and “guaranteed” salaries will be reported and interpreted.
· With regard to athletics, contracts between booster and other 501(c)(3) organizations and the university should require financial transparency to protect university integrity. In the absence of contracts, best practices should be developed regarding the relationship between the university, its athletics department, and external entities such as booster clubs, foundations that support athletics and independent operations, e.g., sports camps.
· Sports camps appear to be a particularly complex area of accounting; the complexity and variety of models may require more reflection in perfecting the accounting categories.
· Full accounting should include costs of specialized campus FTE in units other than the Athletics Department whose effort is devoted to athletics.
Specific recommendations concerning the Subcommittee draft report of October 10, 2005
1. For operating revenue items 1 and 3, distinguish ticket sale revenues from mandatory contributions to athletics programs and related booster organizations in order to purchase tickets; make a distinction between such contributions (to be reported in 1) from truly voluntary contributions by alumni and others (to be reported in 3).
2. For item 3, include contributions to booster organizations for organizational operating costs, scholarships, etc.
3. For items 4, 20, and 22, the limitation to contractually guaranteed amounts should be expanded to include all such revenues and expenditures. Data for all forms of outside revenues that accrue to coaches solely due to their positions as university coaches should be available for internal decision making purposes.
4. For item 11, include, proportionally, student fees for mixed-use facilities that benefit athletics; where Athletics Department sources finance facilities that provide benefits to the campus, costs should be prorated accordingly.
5. For item 35, there seems no reason why miscellaneous items may constitute up to 10% of expenditures; the figure for miscellaneous revenues in item 15 is limited to 5%, and that is appropriate for expenditures as well.
6. For dashboard item (h), report expenditures not only per student-athlete and per coach, but also by specific team, as in the EADA data.
7. The following dashboard data point should be added: the ratio of per-student cost in athletics academic advising and support to per-student cost for general undergraduate advising and support.
II. FINANCIAL ISSUES CONCERNING COACHING STAFFS
Part of the rise in athletic spending is spiraling coaches’ salaries. Tying coaches' salaries to winning has disconnected them from the educational mission of the institution. We need to find ways to control the “coaching market” and to align academic “winning” with success in athletic programs. Coaches’ salaries and staff sizes reflect how athletics has moved further away from the NCAA goals of maintaining intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational mission.
When we speak of “market forces” influencing salaries in academics, we are generally referring to large external markets influencing limited university markets. However, the external market for coaches is small, relative to the university market – coaching positions in professional leagues are far fewer in number than college and university positions. It is basically universities themselves that are driving the coaching market, not professional leagues or the entertainment industry. The rising “coaching market” is internal, and reflects the extraordinary value schools have come to place on winning in high-profile sports. This is a distortion of the true purpose of intercollegiate athletics and the collegiate model.
There seem to be at least four reasons for extremely high Division IA head coaching salaries:
While the influence of these factors is understandable, none of the factors reflects the collegiate model of athletics, and the cumulative effect has severely eroded that model. This will be extremely difficult to correct, particularly in light of antitrust constraints. Only local leadership, aligned with the values of college sports, can influence behavior nationally.
Many of the issues that pertain to coaches’ contracts also apply to other athletic department personnel, such as Athletics Directors. In particular, incentive clauses connected to winning should not be a feature of any such contracts.
Appendix: Existing COIA policy recommendations relevant to coaches:
The following statements, adopted as recommendations by COIA as part of its 2005 document on academic integrity (http://www.uoneuro.uoregon.edu/~tublitz/COIA/AID.html), are relevant to issues concerning coaches’ terms of employment:
a. Head coaches must share accountability for the academic achievement of the athletes they select for admissions consideration. Data on continuing eligibility and graduation rates of each recruiting class brought by individual head coaches to their institutions should be maintained, relevant to the period during which the coach was employed at that institution and according to uniform standards, to establish a public record of the academic success of each coach. This record should follow a coach from institution to institution. Such a process will increase the likelihood that a coach’s commitment to appropriate academic-athletics balance will have an impact on the assessment of his or her success and the shape of his or her careers. It will also help ensure that in seeking team success, coaches are less likely to recruit students who are not likely to succeed academically at their institutions, a practice that damages schools, students, and intercollegiate sports.
b. The campus administration and athletics department, in consultation with the Campus Athletics Board, should establish clear policies regarding how the academic success of athletes bears on coaches’ job descriptions, and how academic performance will be weighed in reviews and personnel decisions regarding coaching staffs. Campus procedures should allow the Campus Athletics Board or its personnel subcommittee to review policy implementation, and to report annually to the campus administration and Faculty Governance Body its assessment of the integrity with which these policies are implemented.
We support the concept of Presidential Leadership as it has been amply and eloquently defined by the NCAA rules, the Association of Governing Bodies (AGB), the Knight Commission, and the Presidential Task Force itself. Presidents who assume responsibility for athletics on the local level should be able to rely on the support of all of the internal and external constituencies as outlined in the draft report by the Subcommittee on Presidential Leadership.
a. A strengthened NCAA recertification process that measures programs against best practices, adapted to local conditions, with significant incentives.
b. The drafting of best practice guidelines to complement those already drafted by the AGB and the COIA, and the use of these guidelines by the NCAA to reinforce presidential leadership.
c. The development of model contracts for coaches and administrators to include language that rewards contributions to the academic and personal development of athletes, e.g., improved graduation rates (See section VII. Integration of Athletics into the Life of the Campus, recommendation 1F, p. 14).
d. Effective and appropriate communication with constituencies about the role of presidents.
We agree with the Subcommittee on Academic Values and Standards that commercialism and over-commercialization present a threat to the integrity of intercollegiate sports. These terms are difficult to define and delimit, but there is a widely-held feeling that athletic programs have gotten onto the wrong track, and we must find ways to get back on the right track. Most of all, we must seek mechanisms to manage the demands of television networks and corporate sponsors.
Corporate support opportunities are a rising influence across the university; however, this cannot be accepted as an excuse for over-commercialization in athletics, any more than it can be in academics. Academic policy makers have responded to increased commercial activity within the university by instituting controls to define conflict of interest and conflict of commitment. There has not been the same level of oversight to determine these conflict issues in athletic programs. Moreover, the issues of maintaining proper alignment with institutional mission, values, and control are increasingly central to assessments of corporate support opportunities for academics. These processes of assessment need to become equally developed for athletics.
Athletics is perhaps the most visible part of our universities to the public, and negative issues in athletics can have a dramatic impact on the image and mission of the university as a whole. Universities are non-profit, educational institutions; many are governmental agencies with public restrictions; they traditionally cherish academic freedom, freedom of thought, and freedom of information, and are devoted to the public good. Commercial interests that devalue the commitment and mission of the institution must be carefully examined.
Increases in athletic revenues are typically invested in new growth in athletic programs; this growth often creates a need for further revenues, in a cycle of escalating needs. Presidents should seek data to clarify in what respects revenue increments promote only this cycle of further growth in athletics costs, without contributing towards the solution of existing revenue problems.
1. The Task Force should encourage as a best practice that each campus appoint a committee to monitor and review procedures for assessing commercial opportunities and ongoing commercial arrangements relating to athletics, both on campus and at the conference level. Such committees should include a substantial number of faculty and the campus FAR. If a campus committee monitoring more general issues of institutional commercialization exists, this athletics function should be included in its portfolio if feasible.
2. Commercialization of intercollegiate athletics is driven largely by increasing media coverage of events. The presidents should continue to take steps to urge the media to increase the highlighting of academic achievements of institutions and their athletes.
3. The presidents should have an increased role in negotiating contractual arrangements at the local and conference level.
The fundamental mission of a university is intellectual in nature. Among the primary missions of universities is the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Collegiate athletic programs must complement this intellectual mission. To help clarify this collegiate model of athletics, we suggest the following as a concise statement of its nature:
College sports can help develop the character of athletes, create a focus for campus community, and sustain ties between schools, alumni, and the public. These attributes shape the collegiate model of athletics, which is extra-curricular competition among students whose immediate goals must be educational. Unlike professional sports, in the collegiate model students who participate in athletics are not to receive financial rewards for participation beyond what the NCAA allows, and their immediate goals should be related to educational objectives. The goals usually associated with athletic competition (e.g., winning and excellence in athletic performance) should complement but not supersede the goals of educational accomplishments and personal growth.
In a number of sports, particularly the revenue sports, professional standards of athletic performance and entertainment create a framework of expectations that challenge the collegiate model. These include:
Commercialization: Division IA revenue sports compete with professional sports for television audiences and media contract dollars. As the popularity of college sports as media entertainment has grown, media presentation has increasingly blurred the distinction between college and professional sports, and public awareness of the distinction between professional and collegiate models of competition does not now appear strong. Maintaining competitiveness as entertainment entails increasing costs in the areas of personnel, equipment, and travel; these costs rise in tandem with revenues. Because revenue sports income must also underwrite costs of non-revenue sports, financial pressures are increasingly acute. These financial pressures have further blurred the distinction between professional and collegiate sports, as financial criteria increasingly motivate decisions for athletics programs, for example, the recent addition of a 12th football game. Such a decision, made for frankly financial reasons, engages athletes in a revenue generating role, rather than as students whose development is the motive for competition. The addition of the twelfth football game generated immediate responses advocating pay-for-play models that would fundamentally undermine the collegiate model.
Athletic Performance Standards: As noted earlier, the absence of financial rewards for the athletes distinguishes the collegiate model from professional sports; the prioritization of academics and development of the whole person distinguishes the collegiate model from pure amateur competition. The goals of athletes and coaches to seek the highest level of performance standards are in tension with the idea of a limited commitment to athletics which is integral to the collegiate model.
1. The NCAA and its member institutions should clarify and broadly publicize the distinction between collegiate and professional sports. Best practices should be developed that include explicit recognition of the distinction between them.
2. Universities have begun to promote academic programs more actively in conjunction with athletic events through the media. This effort should include statements by a university representative clarifying the role of athletics in the institution and its compatibility with the academic mission. This message might be made stronger if conveyed by a person of stature in the institution but in any event should be a standard part of the institution’s public communications during all major athletic events.
3. Recognizing the pressures on athletic departments, institutional decision-making with respect to athletics should emphasize the welfare of student-athletes and the institutional mission rather than be based solely on finances without regard to the goals of the collegiate model.
4. Expenditure patterns and salary structures in college athletics should not be based on the norms and practices of professional sports (see section II “Financial issues concerning coaching staffs”).
COIA addressed the importance of conferences in its 2003 Framework document (http://www.uoneuro.uoregon.edu/~tublitz/COIA/Framework.html):
“Conferences enhance the role of athletics by creating traditions of rivalry central to school identity, and alumni and community loyalty. As a level of athletics governance, the conference can create or influence policies concerning academic standards, athlete welfare, limits of program scale, and so forth. The conference has its fullest effect when its members share regional identity, academic standards and goals, and/or long-standing common traditions.”
1. Conference participation need not be limited to athletics and presidents should improve academic interactions between institutions in a conference. Future conference configurations should thus be designed on the basis of academic, athletic, and geographic considerations, which should enhance both the athletic and academic programs. Presidents should take the position that the major factors in the realignment of conferences should include academic peer relationships and other factors that have been traditionally considered, rather than media-driven or financially-driven factors,
2. The NCAA should request that conference commissioners develop and publicize policies reflecting academic concerns in areas such as initial and continuing eligibility standards, and competition scheduling, including TV contracts and game days and times.
3. Conferences should go beyond won-lost records and athletic performance to recognize academic success and excellence through formal awards and other programs.
VII. INTEGRATION OF ATHLETICS INTO THE LIFE OF THE CAMPUS
The activities of the athletic department must faithfully embrace the mission and goals of the University. In order to reach this objective, athletics needs to be more integrated within the academic structure of the campus. This goal includes integration of:
The first five of these relate principally to the relation between the Athletics Department and the campus; the latter two to the relation between athletes and other students. We have been invited by the Subcommittee on Academic Values and Standards to prioritize among these dimensions and comment on them.
We strongly support increased integration of athletics in the decision making and community life of campuses dedicated to the academic mission. The following recommendations are in order of implementation rather than importance:
a. The university officers responsible for budgetary decisions about athletics should include, in addition to the President and Athletics Director (AD), the chief academic officer of the university (the Provost or Vice President for Academic Affairs) and the Chief Financial Officer.
b. Major athletic department decisions (e.g., hiring of head coaches and the AD, changes in the total number of intercollegiate sports, initiation of major capital projects) should be made in consultation with faculty leaders and through faculty governance channels.
c. The AD, FAR and Campus Athletics Board chair should each make an annual report to the Faculty Governance Body.
d. Athletics administrators at all levels should work closely with others in the rest of the university on items of common concern, e.g. admissions, advising, financial issues, and student services. For example, it would be natural for these contacts to be made through the Faculty Governance Body and appropriate faculty governance committees.
e. Athletic department staff should share appropriate campus-wide service assignments, be involved in appropriate academic activities, and be welcomed by faculty and academic administrators. Wherever possible, the AD should be appointed ex officio to the institution’s Faculty Governance Body. Athletic departments should welcome faculty in appropriate athletic department activities.
f. Contracts, policies, and performance criteria should be configured to reward contributions to the academic and personal development of athletes – the goal of winning is intrinsic to sports; the institution must create strong financial and professional incentives for athletics personnel to focus on the educational mission.
2. The relationship between athletes and other students:
a. In admissions and in the living and academic conditions of campus life, athletes should be viewed and treated as much as possible like other students with an extra-curricular commitment.
b. College administrators, faculty, and athletic departments should mitigate the time demands on athletes to allow them to pursue the full range of educational experiences open to other students.
c. Academic advising and academic support for athletes should be structured to give athletes as valuable and meaningful an educational experience as possible and not just to maintain their eligibility.
d. Participation in athletics should not limit an athlete’s choice of major to the extent practicable.
e. Life skills and personal development programs should integrate student athletes with the rest of the student population.
VIII. ADMISSIONS AND DIVERSITY: ADDRESSING THE IMPACT OF HIGH ADMISSIONS AND ELIGIBILITY STANDARDS
We strongly applaud and support the recently implemented NCAA Division I academic reforms for new and returning student athletes. These reforms, which include both incentives and disincentives, provide a strong basis for reducing the myriad of admission and eligibility problems currently facing intercollegiate athletics.
Although these eligibility requirements will certainly improve the overall academic preparation of the athlete population, they will adversely affect a small group of athletes who no longer meet the new requirements. Rejection of these applicants may lead to claims of discrimination, particularly if certain minority groups are disproportionately affected by these new standards. This may occur for example in the high profile collegiate sports of men’s football and basketball which often have a high percentage of minority athletes.
We suggest the following goals be kept in mind when dealing with this complex issue:
The following points are derived from existing COIA policies, and represent positions endorsed by the full Coalition membership.
1. General admissions policies should be the same for all athletes and non-athletes. Campus administrations and Faculty Governance Bodies should work together to develop these policies.
2. Campus administrations and Faculty Governance Bodies should develop policies that set standard criteria for special admissions, consistent with maintaining the overall academic mission of the institution. Special admissions should be balanced for all student groups including special admissions for athletes. Institutional efforts to promote diversity should be applied consistently to the entire body of applications and should not be used to justify special admissions for athletes.
3. Analogous policies and procedures should be developed by campus administration and campus governance bodies to govern the admission of transfer students who are scholarship athletes. Athletes who transfer to four-year institutions from two-year institutions face particular difficulties. We are not aware of good data pertaining to the academic success of athletes who transfer from junior colleges. Because concerns about possible problems are longstanding, we support the following recommendation:
The NCAA should compile data and undertake a systematic study of the success rate of athletes transferring from junior colleges and of problems particular to this transition, with the goal of providing information that can help guide schools in admissions decisions and effective advising. Such a study should include a survey of the impact of recent NCAA academic reforms on junior college transfer students.
4. The Campus Athletics Board should receive information on all scholarship athlete admits, and should annually certify compliance with the policies discussed above to the campus Faculty Governance Body.
5. Campuses should develop means to track and share with the Faculty Governance Body the academic performance of scholarship athletes who enroll through special admissions, to permit better understanding of how successfully the campus supports the academic needs of these students and what costs to the campus this may involve. Faculty Governance Bodies should also be provided with data concerning the academic progress of all athletes, allowing them to assess the range of admissions qualifications appropriate to athletes, adhering in all cases to the requirements of protections under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).