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SBJ/September 14 - 20, 1998/No Topic Name
NCAA expects talent drain with Indy move
Published September 14, 1998
Could the NCAA's $1-a-year lease of its new Indianapolis headquarters still prove costly?
Maybe not in terms of rent, but NCAA officials are bracing for a major talent drain as current employees decide whether to leave the organization rather than move across the Midwest next year.
The suburban Kansas City-based NCAA is still tallying how many of its 300 employees are choosing to stay behind after giving staff members until Aug. 31 to decide if they will follow the moving vans to Indianapolis. The Aug. 31 deadline was not an ultimatum to employees, NCAA officials said, but rather a way to help plan the relocation.
While final numbers aren't available, NCAA spokesman Wally Renfro said there is a concern about losing a significant number of key staff members and support personnel.
"Any organization can lose key people at any given time, but losing an exceptionally large number is bound to happen in a move like this," Renfro said. "There is a legitimate concern."
Last year, the NCAA said that it would relocate from Overland Park, Kan., to Indianapolis after Indianapolis made a deal that the NCAA apparently couldn't refuse: A new $50 million headquarters paid for with a combination of private and public funds that will cost the NCAA a grand total of $1 a year in rent.
But the move has already spurred an exodus of talent as NCAA employees opt to leave the organization rather than be uprooted to Indiana.
Renfro said that from June 1997, when the move was announced, through this June, 29 employees left the NCAA. Those numbers are expected to climb now that the NCAA's Aug. 31 deadline has passed. Renfro would not say how many more resignations occurred this summer, but at least four other key staff members have announced their departures.
"There is a concern about losing staff members who have a lot of knowledge about the organization," Renfro said. "The hope is that you have a knowledge transfer before they take off."
The move is also part of a decision by the NCAA to shutter its Hall of Champions visitors center in Kansas City, which was a perennial money loser. Plans call for the NCAA to resurrect the exhibit with a revamped and hopefully more profitable approach in Indianapolis.