SBD/Issue 62/Collegiate Sports

IMG Intercollegiate Forum: The Cost Of Staying Competitive

Urban Meyer's Resignation From Florida Was
A Talking Point Among ADs During IAF Panel

When news broke yesterday that Urban Meyer was stepping down as head coach of the Florida Gators, TCU AD Chris Del Conte and Boise State AD Gene Bleymaeir could only shake their heads and say they hope that by now their coaches understand they don’t have to run to a “big name” school to win and be icons. But sometimes money does the talking and, in that area at least, their institutions simply aren’t in the same league. This was just one topic touched on at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum hosted by SBD/SBJ during the discussion titled “Athletic Directors on the Costs Associated with Staying Competitive,” which featured Del Conte, Bleymaeir and other ADs: Western Kentucky's Ross Bjork; San Jose State's Tom Bowen; East Carolina's Terry Holland; and UNC-Greensboro's Kim Record. All six panelists seemed to bristle when asked about the current state of college football in terms of being divided between the “haves” and the “have-nots." Bjork replied by saying the NCAA could help everyone by branding appropriately and making sure the public understands that there are 11 BCS conferences, not six. “I don’t think we look at ourselves as a ‘have-not’ which is a profile and I think it’s a disservice,” said Bowen. “I don’t have a lot of facilities like my other brethren … but my kids still have a great student-athlete experience and have an opportunity, just like the other student athletes, to [participate] in the NCAA.”

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: To close, the panelists were asked what problem they would like NCAA President Mark Emmert to address in the next year.

  • Record: “The communication flow needs to be much more efficient and much more quick.”
  • Holland: “A continued emphasis on making sure we send a consistent message. That we don’t schedule events at times that interfere with what we’re supposed to be there for which is educating those kids.”
  • Del Conte: “Enforcement and compliance. … It’s so convoluted that we never really know [how to proceed].”
  • Bowen referred to an earlier topic of changing how non-conference scheduling for football and basketball is done, making sure the smaller schools don’t always have to play on the bigger school’s home turf.
  • Bleymaeir: “I would add to the five years of eligibility. I think it would increase graduation rates dramatically.”
  • Bjork: “I think you should invest in a big shredder and shred all the rule books and start over. It’s way too complicated and it’s way too confusing for our coaches and our staff to keep up with. I mean, Ohio State has 13 compliance officers. That’s crazy how many people they have to have to keep track of the rules.”
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