Everything College Sports

For those interested in all things college sports

Roster Management Practice Questioned

The mention of Title IX results in different reactions from different people. I’ve always found myself at somewhat of a cross roads with Title IX. I have been active in the wrestling community most of my life and have seen opportunities eliminated in that sport. I am also a female who greatly benefited from Title IX. Along comes the Quinnipiac injunction, and Title IX has become a national issue once again.

On May 22, 2009 a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Quinnipiac from dropping its women’s volleyball program or any other female opportunities. The ACLU of Connecticut has taken on the case for the women’s volleyball student-athletes and coaches. Expect this case to get more and more interesting as it unfolds and moves forward in the judicial process. During the hearing last week, it came to light that Quinnipiac set roster minimums (floors) for its women’s sports and roster maximums (ceilings) for its men’s sports. This has become common practice nationally in order to ensure compliance with the proportionality prong of Title IX. However, what makes the Quinnipiac case interesting is that beyond these roster management numbers they were allowing men’s sports to cut student-athletes prior to the first competition and then add them back after that competition, and on the women’s side, coaches were carrying their minimums through the first competition without equipment or uniforms and then most of the women who were not allowed to travel or have uniforms and equipment would quit. Continue reading

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Gender Equity and Title IX, NCAA, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UNO Athletics; The Students Have Spoken!

The University of New Orleans (UNO) Student-Athletes have had a rough couple of years. First, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the campus and athletic facilities. The result was the suspension of 9 athletic teams and decreased student enrollment. UNO Enrollment has still not recovered to pre-Katrina levels which has severely reduced the athletics funding available from student fees. This, plus recent State budget cuts (athletics share was going to be appprox. $1.5mil) have stressed the finances of the athletics department in a big way. Now, last week UNO students voted “NO” to an increase in student fees to keep athletics functioning.

The result of the “NO” vote by students will likely be the elimination of the entire athletics program. Only if the State Legislature steps in to help (or a major private donor) can the program be saved at this point. Continue reading

May 3, 2009 Posted by | College Sports Business, Finance, NCAA, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Value of a Student-Athlete Education

I was fortunate enough to go to the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago with a group of my classmates.  As many of them have already expressed, it was an amazing opportunity not only to network, but also to listen to the major issues that are currently occurring in college athletics.

A major theme throughout the weekend was the need to address rising commercial activity within intercollegiate athletics.  The State of the Association Address focused on this issue and the need to find the right balance–a balance that ensures that the principles and values of higher education are not compromised.

That got me thinking a lot about the topic of whether student-athletes should be paid.  Although this was not specifically addressed in the state of the association speech, I think that it is an indirect side effect of increasing commercial activity—it seems that in some ways commercial activities have contributed to an altering view of the student-athlete. The focus is being placed more on the athlete in student-athlete than on the student in student-athlete.

I am in complete agreement that some commercial activity is necessary and that it has been a critical driver in generating revenues for athletic departments.  Without it, facilities, salaries and the overall well-being of the department would suffer.  However, I think increasing commercial activity has also blurred the meaning and mission of a student-athlete.

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January 29, 2009 Posted by | Legislation, NCAA, NCAA Compliance Issues, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Networking Heaven

This past weekend a group of 10 first year Ohio University MBA/MSA students attended the NCAA convention. Christina Wright, a former NCAA intern, did an excellent job planning the weekend by getting everyone an NCAA mentor, setting up several meetings with people from the NCAA, Athletic Administrators from around the country, and organizing an incredible weekend for her classmates. I can’t thank Christina enough for everything she put into planning this weekend and providing us with such great opportunities. The weekend certainly didn’t disappoint!

After having had time to sit down and reflect on the weekend, I have realized just how much my classmates and I have taken away from the weekend. In my opinion the most beneficial part off the weekend was the one on one time we were able to get with several successful individuals in the world of college athletics. To put it in perspective, over a 3 day period we had the pleasure of meeting with Bernard Muir (Georgetown Director of Athletics), Steve Watson (St. Bonaventure Director of Athletics), Craig Keilitz (High Point Director of Athletics), Troy Watson (Longwood Director of Athletics), Keith Gill (American Director of Athletics), and Athena Argyropoulos (American Associate AD/SWA. To have the opportunity to meet with that many successful individuals in a 72 hour period could only be possible at the NCAA convention. The best part was, that only scratches the surface.

In addition to the above mentioned people we were able to meet with several other alumni who are currently working for Universities and Conferences around the country and many people from the NCAA. From their career paths to their professional advice and knowledge, we picked their brains every chance that we had and learned a great deal.

Not only did we have the opportunity to network but we were also able to attend several education sessions put on by the NCAA. We learned about the process of adopting or overriding NCAA legislation, saw the State of the Association Address, listened to the inspiring Billie Jean King speak, and toured the amazing Museum in Washington D.C. There is no doubt in my mind every individual that attended the NCAA convention benefited a great deal from it. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student looking to get into college athletics, the best $50 investment you can make is to register for next year’s NCAA Convention in Atlanta.

Lastly, spending the weekend with nine of my classmates was the most fun I have had in a long time. I learned a great deal more about them and enjoyed sharing such an amazing experience with them. I guess nothing really brings a group together like a walking around a hectic Washington D.C. to see the monuments and listen to Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seager rehearse for the concert for President Obama’s Inauguration on the steps of Lincoln Memorial in a 10 below windchill.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | NCAA, Ohio University, Sports Administration, Uncategorized, Working in College Sports | Leave a comment

Myles Brand

I was deeply saddened to hear that Dr. Brand has pancreatic cancer and that the prognosis is not good. While Dr. Brand and I have disagreed vociferously on many issues in college athletics, it purpose, and certainly on the reform effort–let there be no doubt that there is no single person, including Walter Byers, who has had such a profound impact on the Association in making it better and aligning it with its true purpose. Dr. Brand’s passion for the athlete and fairness has made an archaic waiver process better and more athlete friendly, his push for academic reform has brought to the table discussions that were never spoken before, and his continued work with organizations like COIA and the Knight Commission on improving college athletics is commendable and laudable.

While Dr. Brand and I may disagree on the process to reforming college sports, at the end of the day we want the same thing and that is actual college students playing college sports. I do not believe there has ever been a President of the NCAA who wants it more, and who is willing to risk the political points to get it done.

I am not here to write an obituary of a great man who has given his life’s work to higher education and the betterment of it because he is still very much alive. We are all pulling for Myles to beat this and he certainly needs our thoughts and prayers. While he does need time, much more time, to be part of this world, his legacy is secure and his work with the NCAA will never be forgotten. Here’s hoping we have several more years of critical work done on the reform front and continued debate with Myles Brand on the subject, because I am convinced that without him–we would not even be having the discussion.

God Bless and Good Luck Myles–The Ohio University Community and so many others are pulling for you!!!

Dave Ridpath

January 19, 2009 Posted by | NCAA, Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

An NCAA Homecoming

As the former diversity and inclusion intern at the NCAA, I knew sharing the 2009 NCAA Convention with my colleagues as a professional development trip opportunity would help strengthen their network and define their direction in the industry, especially as we search for summer internships. For me, being able to experience Convention as a delegate rather than a staff member was an interesting twist to my young professional career.

Due to our MBA class schedule and responsibilities, our first day at Convention was Thursday. After attending NCAA educational sessions, checking out the vendors at the Trade Show, listening to the State of the Association speech, watching Billie Jean King receive the NCAA’s Gerald R. Ford award, and attending the Honors and Delegates Celebration at the Newseum, I was already overwhelmed with nostalgia and a sense of homecoming. This time last year I was working with the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in Nashville, Tennessee.

Friday presented another full schedule. The Division I Issues and Legislative Forums, lunch with alumni, and a meet-and-greet reception with various professionals filled our day. I was able to share a unique experience with my colleagues on how Division I legislation is passed or overridden. Most people think that the NCAA has the power to create and implement legislation. False! It’s actually the membership who drives legislative decisions and now I have 9 other graduate students as witnesses.

Anyway, for the fourth consecutive year, Division I was faced with another override vote regarding men’s basketball coaches observing nonscholastic events in April. High profile delegate, Damon Evans (chair of the Division I Leadership Council and University of Georgia athletic director) led the discussion on why Division I delegates should oppose the override. Army athletic director and chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Issues Committee, Kevin Anderson, and Kerry Kenny, outgoing Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, also opposed the override. As a former Patriot League student-athlete, seeing Mr. Anderson and Mr. Kenny be two of the four speakers on the floor persuading the other delegates to oppose the override made me proud. Mr. Anderson’s statement, “We have to send a message, and if we don’t send a message we might as well take the ‘student’ off ‘student-athlete,’ ” reaffirmed why I believe there is magic in intercollegiate athletics.

As a young professional, I have found a common theme in working in intercollegiate athletics: service. If you are in this industry and aren’t in it to serve, you will have a short-lived career. With that mindset, we spent our Saturday morning helping NCAA staff finish up the Division II and III business sessions. We spent the evening touring the monuments and dinner in Georgetown with athletic administrators from my alma mater, American University. The city was buzzing in anticipation of the Presidential Inauguration events. We even saw the dress rehearsal for the actual event at the Lincoln Memorial.

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January 19, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, College Sports Business, NCAA, Ohio University, Sports Administration, Uncategorized, Working in College Sports | | 1 Comment