A report released yesterday calling for university governors and trustees “to take a more active role in the governance of college athletics should serve as a call to action for governing boards that have for too long failed to look closely enough at the inner workings of what has become a multi-billion-dollar industry,” according to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. The report, entitled “Trust, Accountability and Integrity: Board Responsibilities for College Athletics,” was released by the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities. It “states forcefully that university governing boards are ‘ultimately accountable for athletics policy and oversight’ and that they should ‘act decisively to uphold the integrity of the athletics program and its alignment with the academic mission of the institution.’” DeCock: “Or, translated to common language: Get your butts in gear and start paying attention, ladies and gentlemen. Your reputations are on the line.” The AGB report, released at a meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in DC, also “calls for boards to look more closely at the NCAA itself, which isn’t exempt from criticism.” The report states, “Perhaps the NCAA, in its failure to clarify the role of board oversight of athletics, also fails to recognize where institutional authority ultimately lies.” DeCock writes the report “makes clear that it’s not only imperative to reassert university control of athletics, it’s going to have to start at the top and it’s going to take some unpopular policies to do it” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/10). The AGB recommended that boards should “establish policies to govern athletics and be accountable for them; act decisively to uphold the integrity of the athletics program and its alignment with the academic mission of the institution; and educate themselves about their policies and responsibilities on an annual basis” (USA TODAY, 10/10).
WEIGHING IN:Former Univ. of Virginia President and AGB Project Dir John Casteen said, "The boards that do things right aren't the ones that end up on Page 1.” On Long Island, John Jeansonne notes the report was one of “six during the Knight session that addressed ethical, commercial and academic challenges raised by the arms race of big-time college sports." The report stated that "only half of colleges surveyed had a board policy on athletics, roughly half had a policy of protection of minors," and only 35% of the boards said that they "received sufficient information with regard to NCAA rules.” Casteen said, “I wouldn't expect the Knight Commission to jump right on the advice we've given about expecting board members to be more competent players, and more active. But the response, in more than 90 percent of the cases, went in the direction we're suggesting" (NEWSDAY, 10/10).
Boston College yesterday named Brad Bates its new AD. Bates, who served as Miami (Ohio) Univ. AD for the past 10 years, succeeds Gene DeFilippo, who retired on Sept. 30 after 15 years at BC (Boston College). In Boston, Rich Thompson writes Bates "apparently satisfied the requirements of two constituencies -- the power brokers and the consumers." Bates inherits a position that was "controlled and redefined for 15 years" by DeFilippo. He takes over a department that has "experienced highs, lows and plenty of in-betweens over the past five years." Bates worked in "various capacities" at Vanderbilt Univ. from '85-'02, and spent the last 10 years "building up teams, especially football and men's hockey, as the AD at Miami (Ohio)." Under Bates, MU "won at least one conference championship in 14-of-18 sports" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/10). In Ohio, Rick Cassano notes the MU hockey program "has developed into a national power during the Bates era." The football program "also achieved back-to-back bowl appearances (2003-04) for the first time in nearly 30 years" (OXFORD PRESS, 10/10). ESPN.com's Heather Dinich noted Bates at MU "helped raise student-athlete graduation rates, achieving an overall Graduation Success Rate of 89 percent in 2011, while also raising private funds to upgrade facilities, including a complete renovation of Yager Football Stadium, and a new ice hockey arena and softball field." One of Bates' "first tasks at BC will be to decide whether to retain embattled [football] coach Frank Spaziani, whose team is off to another disappointing start" (ESPN.com, 10/9). In Boston, Julian Benbow notes the hiring of Bates brings "an end to a six-week search" led by BC President William Leahy and VP/Human Resources Leo Sullivan. Leahy said, "We said we wanted someone who would fit with Boston College's culture" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/10).
Shawn Eichorst, set to take over as Univ. of Nebraska AD on Jan. 1, yesterday during his introductory press conference "used much of the beginning of his only statement to praise" outgoing AD Tom Osborne, who "watched from the back of the room," according to Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln JOURNAL STAR. Eichorst said of the Nebraska football program, "It's the engine that drives this. There's no secrets there. I appreciate the awesomeness that that is." Christopherson notes Eichorst is "scheduled to begin this week as special assistant to the chancellor, a role which figures to help him in transitioning" to the AD post. Eichorst came onto Chancellor Harvey Perlman's "radar in late August when the chancellor had a meeting with Jed Hughes, who is part of the Korn/Ferry search firm." Perlman said Hughes "had a really good sense of what we needed as opposed to what some other institution might need" (Lincoln JOURNAL STAR, 10/10). In Lincoln, Steven Sipple writes under the header, "New Husker AD Passes First Test." Sipple: "Genuine. Humble. Understated. Self-effacing. A no-BS sort." Eichorst yesterday said, "I really don't want to have to be out in front, but I know at a place like Nebraska, I need to do that. I'm prepared to do that." Sipple writes Eichorst "seems genuine when he's saying all the right things" (Lincoln JOURNAL STAR, 10/10). In Omaha, Tom Shatel writes Eichorst's speech was "well-rehearsed and well-researched." At times, Eichorst "seemed to try too hard to make the case that he's not an outsider." Nebraskans "no doubt appreciate the effort." But the "first rule" of introductory press conferences is that "actions always speak louder than words." Shatel: "It won't be until January, when he takes over, that we begin to find out if Eichorst and Nebraskans speak the same language" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 10/10).