Present: Gip Seaver (Chair), Nestor Osorio, Paul Bauer, Ray Dembinski, Earl Hansen, Robert Wheeler, Marcia Dick, Ray Tourville, Nolan Davis, Joe True.
Guests: Sheila Berg, Athletics Business Manager; Beth Calder, Athletics Ticket Manager; Robert Collins, Associate Athletics Director.
I. Call to Order – Gip Seaver
II. Approval of May 7, 2003 Meeting Minutes
Robert Wheeler made a motion to approve the May 7, 2003, meeting minutes. Paul Bauer seconded the motion.
Having no additions or corrections, the motion was carried.
III. Special Recognition
Robert Collins began by announcing that we have refreshments at today’s meeting so we can thank two outstanding people who are leaving the Board after today. Gip Seaver leaves us as chair but he will return in the fall in his designation as vice provost. Ray Dembinski, faculty athletics representative, is retiring from the university. It has been an outstanding privilege to work with them as an Athletic Department and as members of the Athletic Board. Athletics would like to publicly thank them for their integrity, their loyalty, and everything they have done for Athletics during their years on the Board. Robert then thanked them on behalf of the Athletics Department and past and present Board members for giving of their time. Also, it was noted that today is Bob Wheeler’s last meeting as well.
Dr. Wheeler said his time of service on the Board has been enjoyable. We will see him in the stands at the games.
Ray Dembinski said it has
been an interesting 20 years. He has developed some wonderful relationships
during this time. Ray believes people on campus do
not truly understand the depth of the integrity the staff of Athletics has to represent the campus. He wishes more people on campus knew this and hopes it will change over time. Gip said he will be very happy to continue as a member of the Board in his new role as Vice Provost.
IV. Committee Reports
Will be addressed under Old Business.
B. Student Welfare
C. Gender Equity
Paul Bauer reported that copies of the survey instrument and data were distributed to everyone here today. He then reported that several copies of the data have been saved and then provided Janaan Mickey with those data in an electronic form for the Athletics Department. Paul then said that the primary obligation of administering the instrument has been completed.
D. Faculty Athletics Representative
Ray Dembinski reported that he attended MAC meetings in May. From the faculty side, the conference has been through another year with only minor secondary violations. The conference is continuing the tradition of not having major violations.
Paul Bauer then asked for an example of what a minor or secondary violation would be. Ray offered an example of students contacting coaches when they don’t meet certain NCAA restrictions or they may not be at a point in their high school career when they can legally contact the coach. It could also be an issue of a coach sending out improper recruiting materials or a graduate assistant attending a recruiting meal. Per NCAA regulations, graduate assistants are not permitted to attend recruiting meals. Paul went on to say that it seems extremely difficult to get through a year without having some violations. Ray said they are usually small violations if there are any. The MAC has a very good reputation for policing itself.
Robert Collins said he attended the MAC administrative meetings and the main discussion was regarding the bowl situation. The conference is very proud of what it has done with the two bowl opportunities over the last two years and it has been fighting off other schools who want to be involved in the GMAC bowl. The GMAC bowl, however, needs to remain a MAC bowl. The highlight of the bowl situation is that the commissioner is working on a third bowl opportunity. Ray Dembinski stated that the GMAC bowl was on a year-to-year agreement with a five-year commitment but the five-year commitment has already been signed.
Gip then stated that two items need to be added to today’s agenda. The proposed 2003-04 complimentary ticket policy and men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling ticket prices.
V. Old Business
A. Third Quarterly Report
Earl Hansen made a motion to approve the FY03 third quarterly report. Nolan Davis seconded the motion.
Having no discussion, the motion was carried unanimously.
B. FY04 Budget
Earl Hansen made a motion to approve the FY04 budget. Nestor Osorio seconded the motion.
Having no discussion, the motion was carried unanimously.
C. Athletic Board Structure and Function
Gip began by saying this is just an informational item. The executive committee has discussed changes to the Board structure and function. Lots of the discussion was about clearing up items from the Policies and Procedures manual. Some of the contents are outdated. Other discussion focused on how to deal with budgets. Rather than presenting the entire budget, the Board will deal more with summaries of the budget. Other items discussed will be presented to the new chair to bring forward in the fall. Some items will require changes in the Constitution and Bylaws and will go through University Council but will come to the Board first.
Gip went on to say that the Board has also discussed the issue of student representation and how it can be improved.
The concept of quarterly meetings was also discussed. Committees and task forces would work on specific items and then bring them back to the Board for discussion. We want to get the Board off to a good start in the fall.
VI. New Business
A. Amended 2002-03 Football Complimentary Ticket Policy
Paul Bauer made a motion to approve the amended 2002-03 football complimentary ticket policy. Ray Tourville seconded the motion.
Beth Calder, athletics ticket manager, explained that the reason for bringing last year’s football complimentary ticket policy to today’s meeting is that it needs to be amended. The auditors have requested clarification of the season ticket numbers, who exactly is an administrator, and also make it easier to audit the tickets. Marketing undertook a very aggressive campaign by mailing to the near west suburbs and elementary students participating in the A+ Attendance campaign. Beth stated that many elementary schools took advantage of that program and it now requires us to amend the numbers upward to cover those tickets.
Having no comments or questions, the motion was carried.
B. FY04 Complimentary Ticket Policy
Earl Hansen made a motion to approve the FY04 complimentary ticket policy. Paul Bauer seconded the motion.
Beth began by explaining Athletics had previously had separate ticket policies for each sport but she is today presenting this as a comprehensive policy. That means the Board will only need to approve this once per year. There are variances contractually but this comprehensive policy is better.
Having no comments or questions, the motion was carried.
C. FY04 Ticket Prices
Before acting on these prices, Gip suggested that the Board act on the sports separately.
1. FY04 Men’s Basketball Ticket Prices
Earl Hansen made a motion to approve the FY04 men’s basketball ticket prices. Ray Dembinski seconded the motion.
Sheila Berg began discussion by saying the prices presented today are the same as last year’s prices. Earl asked if women’s basketball ticket prices will ever go as high as men’s basketball ticket prices. Beth answered they probably will not because of the low attendance. Attendance this season, however was very good with women’s basketball attendance increasing approximately 200% and men’s basketball attendance increasing 100%. Athletics did very well with the new Convocation Center. Nationally, the price for women’s basketball tickets is quite a bit less. NIU’s tickets prices are in the middle.
Having no questions or further discussion, the motion was carried.
2. FY04 Women’s Basketball Ticket Prices
Ray Tourville made a motion to approve the FY04 women’s basketball ticket prices. Ray Dembinski seconded the motion.
Sheila pointed out that, again, the prices presented today are the same as last year’s prices. Relative to the fact that single game tickets for women’s games are only sold in the lower bowl, Gip asked what would happen if there was a big game and seats were needed outside the lower bowl. Beth said because lots of tickets purchased are walk-up sales and the Convocation Center staff needs 48 hours to open additional seating, it is something Athletics gauges week-to-week. Beth pays very close attention to this issue. Paul Bauer asked if additional seats were needed in the upper bowl, would the ticket price be the same as for the lower bowl? Beth said it would be the same.
Ray Tourville said the women’s game versus Wisconsin would have been a large draw and asked how close Athletics was to selling out the lower bowl. Beth said it was very, very close. Ray went on to say that would have been an example of needing to open the upper bowl. Beth said it worked out for that particular game because men’s basketball had a home game the next night and the seats were already pulled out.
Having no additional discussion, the motion was carried.
3. FY04 Volleyball, Gymnastics, Wrestling Ticket Prices
Earl Hansen made a motion to approve the FY04 Volleyball, Gymnastics, and Wrestling ticket prices. Paul Bauer seconded the motion.
Paul stated that in order to be countable tickets, the lowest price charged can be no less than half the face value. Sheila said that applies only to football. She added that these coaches really market to elementary and middle schools, not high school.
Robert Wheeler asked what the highest attendance was for any of these sports.
Beth said when wrestling hosted Minnesota, attendance was approximately
4,000. Dr. Wheeler then asked if Victor E. Court has enough space
to lay out the events. Beth said if people are seated on the north
side of Victor
E. Court, it’s a bit close.
Discussion then arose about the “special” ticket price. It was agreed to change the special rate to “promotional rate of $1.00.”
Having no other discussion, the motion was carried.
D. FY03 Sports Schedule “Audit”
Gip began discussion by asking Board members to look in the upper right-hand corner of the schedules. It shows how many times the schedules change during the year.
Ray Tourville pointed out that on the men’s tennis schedule, the actual days away are higher than the projected numbers. Earl pointed out the fact that some sports were away fewer days than projected.
Earl went on to ask why schedules are no longer being brought to the Board as a whole. It is a sense of the Board knowing as a body what is going on rather than finding out after the fact. The problem is that the Board won’t know what is happening and questions may come up. He doesn’t want it to appear that the Board is hiding anything. The executive committee should pass on information right as it happens, rather than waiting until the end of the year to do an “audit.”
Paul Bauer explained that the main focus was to pre-approve them and then get all changes that come forth. The executive committee reviews and approves the schedules. Earl Hansen asked why the schedules are brought forth for approval if they are continuing to change. There is nothing the Board can do about scheduling changes but many times, the game is played before the Board ever sees the schedules. Ray Tourville said as the executive committee discussed, a number of these schedules came forth after the fact.
Ray Dembinski said the executive committee decided after it had reviewed the schedules, they would come to the Board. Paul Bauer said if the Board doesn’t meet, the changes take place anyway and games get played. The executive committee thought the most important thing was having a good policy in place and that it would be followed since it was difficult to monitor these schedules weekly. Gip said once a schedule is approved by the executive committee, it can be brought to the Board. Sheila Berg suggested perhaps Dee Abrahamson could e-mail the schedules to the Board. Earl Hansen added he would just like this information to be announced. Robert Collins suggested in the fall, the Board would be provided the information through an executive committee report during ‘Committee Reports’ on the Board meeting agendas.
Dr. Wheeler then brought up that the football program has a player who is a legitimate Heisman candidate. It seems that some schools spend great sums of money to promote players of this caliber. He asked what NIU is doing to promote Michael Turner. Robert Collins answered that Athletics is indeed promoting Michael but rather than using large sums of money, it is handled through the resources available to Athletics.
Robert went on to say that Athletics is looking at a football game change to move the Maryland game from Thursday, August 28, to Friday, August 29 so it can be televised on ESPN. This is a move away from the norm and the loss of revenue and ticket sales is a concern but television exposure for the department and the football program is important.
Paul Bauer made a motion
to adjourn the meeting. Ray Tourville seconded the motion.