Vanderbilt Univ. AD David Williams said there will be a "real change within the governing structure at the NCAA" in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a Q&A with Jeff Lockridge of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Williams further discussed the NCAA structure, as well as the new SEC Network. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Q: What is the big thing going on that we should be talking about?
Williams: Probably the biggest thing going on is the governance issue with the NCAA. For the most part, people don’t realize how serious and how ugly this may become. They had their big meeting (last week) where a bunch of people (nine groups, including conference commissioners) came in and presented what they thought the structure should look like and the changes. There were different entities within the governing structure of the NCAA. Most people believe there is some aspect, whether it’s little or large, that’s not working. In all of the time I've been at this, I've never heard the criticism as high as it is now -- at all levels. There’s going to have to be some change. I find it fascinating that within the next 12 to 18 months, you're going to see a real change within the governing structure at the NCAA. Now, I believe you will still have the NCAA. But you if want to go to all levels (of potential answers), someone could say that maybe you won’t have it, or it won’t look like it’s looking now. And then the other thing is, what does it mean? Does it mean that because we are big-time football, we will have a whole other set of rules, and what will those rules be? Will we have separate academic rules? Will we have separate recruiting rules? And this is the real one: Will the concept of amateurism be different?
Q: Men's basketball ticket sales are not at the level they have been. How closely are you paying attention to that?
Williams: I pay attention to it only because of a revenue issue. You're trying to always improve your facilities, so I look at numbers like that for revenue. And the second thing is what do we need to do in marketing? ... We have to get to a point, not only in basketball but in baseball and football, but we have to get to a point where whatever happens at that game is so unique to what you can see on TV, that you want to be here. You can have one of the best teams in the country and still have ticket problems because you can see the game on TV. We just spent a lot of time at the SEC meetings talking about the fan experience and what all 14 of us need to be doing.
Q: Can you touch on the SEC Network coming up next year and what you are doing around campus in terms of communications to get ready for that?
Williams: There’s going to be a set number of contests that each school needs to have on that channel. So our first level is to try to get to that level that we have the right cameras; we have the right fiber connectivity to do those games; we have the right staffing; we have all of those things. ... One of the things is people have to understand there are 14 schools, and we all aren't going to be on the same level. And some schools are much further ahead in this. Vanderbilt, we really have not done a lot as it relates to sort of our own, I'll say, sort of TV station-light here, whereas some of our sister schools in the conference have been into this for a long time (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 11/3).