Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Holmes Student Center Room #406, 1:00 p.m.
Present: Gip Seaver (chair), Nestor Osorio, Ron Short,
Earl Hansen, Keith Lambrecht, Ken Olson, Robert Wheeler, Brian Scholle,
George Shur, Marcia
Dick, Ray Tourville, Nolan Davis, Joe True, Tara Hawkins.
Guests: Robert Collins, Associate Athletics Director; Ed Mathey, Head Baseball Coach; Kim Judson, Department of Marketing.
I. Call to Order – Gip Seaver
II. Approval of May 1, 2002 Meeting Minutes
Robert Wheeler made a motion to approve the May 1, 2002, meeting minutes. Ken Olson seconded the motion.
Following George Shur’s submission of a correction to the minutes, the motion was carried.
III. Introduction of New Board Members
Gip began by welcoming everyone to the Athletic Board meeting. All members present (new and old) were introduced.
No report. Updates to the sports schedules will be brought forward at next month’s meeting.B. Gender Equity
The committee has no report today but Gip asked George Shur to report on action that has been taken relative to the Board’s decision last year to eliminate men’s and women’s swimming at Northern.
George said that based on many factors, not the least of which was the inadequacy of our facility and significant safety concerns, he believes a swimmer filed a compliant against Northern Illinois University with the Office for Civil Rights. George has heard nothing since three months ago and the Title IX hearings currently taking place in Chicago probably have the OCR staff’s focus. Based on the discussion and vote of the Athletic Board last year, it seems that it was a decision that needed to be made. The sport could not be maintained in the face of the current budget situation at NIU.
Gip then said he would expect that at next month’s meeting, Cary Groth will report on the activities of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Title IX Commission.C. Budget
Ray Tourville said there is nothing new with regard to the budget and we are just waiting to hear from the president.
D. Faculty Athletics RepresentativeNo report.E. Student Welfare
F. Huskie Club
Brian Scholle said there is nothing much to report but wondered who the Athletics Department liaison is for the Huskie Club. Robert Collins suggested he contact Michael Ward.
V. Introduction of New Athletics Department Staff MembersGip said Janaan will circulate via e-mail a list of committees and Board members can then decide which committee or committees they would be interested in working with.
Gip stated that athletics director Cary Groth could not join us today because she is participating in the Title IX hearings in Chicago. He went on to say that Kim Judson would be making a presentation at today’s meeting relating to research she had done at the University of Illinois for her doctoral dissertation relating to VI. B. on the agenda. Gip wants to talk today about plans for the year and get a feel for things of interest to the Board on which you would want to focus.
Gip then asked Robert Collins to introduce the new Athletics Department staff members who are here today.
Robert began by introducing head baseball coach, Ed Mathey, and his assistant, Tim McDonough, Ed’s top assistant. Ed explained that Tim will work with the hitters and infielders and act as baseball’s recruiting coordinator. Ed stated that he most recently was at North Central Community College in Naperville and has great connections in the northern Illinois area.
Robert Wheeler asked what type of indoor facilities are available to the baseball program. Ed replied that Evans Field House should continue to be the main indoor facility but pending renovation of the Field House, he is looking at alternate sites. Robert Collins added that the schedule for Field House renovation should begin after January; however, at this time, noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Field House is still scheduled for practices.
Earl Hansen asked what Ed’s needs are. Ed said he is in the process of trying to access field maintenance items. Coming from North Central College, which is considered to have the best baseball facilities in northern Illinois, he is looking for basic items needed for post-game field maintenance such as brooms, rakes, screen drags, etc. Earl then inquired as to any needs for batting cages and Ed said he might be able to use the netting.
Ken Olson then asked if baseball would again be offering a winter father/son camp because he and his son participated last year and enjoyed it very much. Ed said when he was at North Central, they had a successful kids’ night out-type activity where parents could drop off their kids (8 to 13 years old) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and the baseball players would come in and work with them.
Gip asked Ed what his goals are for the baseball program. Ed responded that he sees ‘consistency’ as a goal for the program; he wants to win the MAC championship. As far as an overview of the program, he would like the players to graduate on time, be good citizens and viable members of the NIU, DeKalb, and Sycamore community, have an ability to interact with and understand their overall part in the big picture.
Gip then asked Ed what he sees as his biggest challenges here. He responded that as far as being competitive, facility improvements are an issue. Having an upgraded facility is going to allow NIU to attract more people. Ed has a great relationship with local coaches and players in the area and he would like to have a good facility to show them. Budgets are always a concern and North Central College is no different. They were in the lower half of their conference and always did fundraising activities to help increase the experience for the players.
Gip asked as far as facilities go, besides the field, what else is a concern? Ed said that the locker situation is a concern and he has thought of perhaps building something under the stands or a clubhouse-type building. Once the field is improved, we can attract good talent.
Marcia Dick said the community is very happy to have baseball back at Northern. She then asked who else is on the baseball staff. Luke Sabers remained from the previous staff and Ed is working on bringing in a young man from North Central as a volunteer coach. Marcia asked if we had lost any signees during the transition. Ed said one young man from last year left because of a family health issue.
Robert Wheeler asked how our number of grants-in-aids compares to the top programs in the MAC. Ed said our numbers are right there.
George Shur said we are probably the most northern school in the MAC and asked if Ed has seen the new baseball facility at Miami because it is very impressive. Ed said we try to use our fall season more than some other schools might. Our advantage, though, is our proximity to the best recruiting area – Chicago.
Having no further questions, Gip thanked coaches Mathey and McDonough for coming to today’s meeting.
VI. New Business
A. 2002-03 Basketball Complimentary Ticket Policy
Janaan reported that this was not ready for today’s meeting and that it will be presented for action at next month’s meeting.B. 2002-03 Plans
Gip stated that he met two weeks ago with both Cary Groth and Ray Dembinski. Their discussion centered around the idea that there are certain things to do because the Board is obligated to do so such as approval of complimentary ticket policies, ticket prices, schedules, etc. Gip wants to explore with the Board what are the things the members thing we ought to focus on such as the budget situation from last year. We had made recommendations and are waiting to hear back. Gip then went on to ask if there are other areas Board members would be interested in reviewing.
Brian Scholle asked how proactive the Board can be with regard to facilities either improving them or acquiring them. Gip said essentially the Board can do pretty much what it wants to do and that the Board has certainly been getting updates on facilities.
George Shur said he would like to discuss public relations. We need to get people in the seats for athletics events. The special challenge is to get other people behind the program. Robert Collins said recent coaching hires in Athletics will impact outside participation in the program. He specifically referred to Rob Judson’s hire and the interest generated for men’s basketball; however, there is nothing better to impact a program than winning and we now have a great place in which to win. George asked to what extent the Board could receive reports on discussion surrounding the items mentioned. It may be discovered that we have not dedicated equity resources where appropriate. Gip said that would be part of the budget process.
Nolan Davis said last year, a public relations committee was created and he does not remember having a report from that committee and until you figure out how to get more money, it may not help to even discuss it. We could develop a priority list for facilities but it is a very long-term process and just getting the money could be take a long time. However, it is Nolan’s feeling that getting people out to athletics events is very doable. Robert Wheeler was impressed with the student turnout for our game against Wake Forest. Robert Collins said we did a lot of things prior to this game. We have experienced a good deal of staff turnover in our marketing unit but they have done a great job for us. He suggested that we get into the Aurora, Naperville, and Rockford areas to target their youth football programs. Ray Tourville asked if playing that game on Thursday evening helped attendance. Robert said for the student section (east side) it does help but on the west side, it hurts because people work and can’t get out here for a 6:30 p.m. game.
Brian Scholle asked if any thought had been given to changing the game times to 3:00 p.m. For those who work on Saturday and close at noon, it’s difficult to get to DeKalb for a 1:05 p.m. kickoff.
George Shur said, not in criticism of Athletics, but his concern is far greater than Athletics overall. This board must help create a new culture of campus pride and focus not just on how good we are in Athletics but across the board. There is no reason we cannot create the campus attitude and culture. Ray Tourville said the post-game atmosphere at the University of Wisconsin last Saturday was tremendously impressive. Robert Collins said the key word is “culture.” In Madison, several large companies in town buy tickets and require their employees to attend the football games.
Keith Lambrecht said the difference between Wisconsin and here is the climate being created at Northern has become a “Monday through Thursday school.” We don’t have a relationship with the students. All the satellite campuses keep students from having to come to DeKalb. Keith said the public relations committee was going to look at ways to get students interested. It is going to be difficult but doing anything at all would be positive.
Ken Olson suggested simply that they would like to know the words to the fight song. Also, in the last few years, we give up on the November games. The big push in marketing should be for those games. Keith Lambrecht clarified that the comments are not criticism of Athletics because they are all doing a great job. Robert Collins said we cannot rely solely on our alums and the surrounding community.
A suggestion that was given to Gip is that we have had our policies and procedures manual for quite some time and it might be time to review it. Keith Lambrecht agreed that it would be good to do that. Nolan Davis indicated that the Board is focused more on policy and budget, and to some degree, management. The athletic board President Peters is used to was more of a promotional board and other people work on the policies. Their primary purpose is what we were just talking about. Other boards get public leaders, community and political people involved.
Gip pointed out that we also need to get the interests and abilities survey done this year.C. Research Presentation by Dr. Kim Judson, Faculty Member in the Department of Marketing
Gip introduced Kim who is here today to give a brief overview of the interviews she conducted for her doctoral dissertation. Kim interviewed student-athletes regarding their college choice and the relationship between Athletics and the university after they were here for a year.
Kim stated that while at the University of Illinois, she had surveyed all incoming student-athletes, flagging their expectations. She believes you cannot have someone leave their college experience satisfied if you don’t know what is important to them. Fourteen different decision attributes were used and included gender, ethnicity, revenue status and scholarship status.
The first week of classes, Kim surveyed all incoming freshmen and junior college transfers and is working with a colleague in the department of Marketing on the information. There is a significant difference based on scholarship status and gender. Females have tended more than males to focus more on academics. Kim conducted long interviews with approximately 19 student-athletes to ask how their experience was going 16 months after they came to the university. She got a lot of rich data which could be useful to the university. It is her hope that the information will help them in the future with issues relating to curriculum, recruiting techniques, and differences in what is important to students. She feels that students who are happy with their experience in college will become happy alums. Kim is going to talk to Cary about doing a satisfaction survey.
Robert Wheeler asked when a skilled high school athletes receives an offer from a Big Ten and a MAC institution, what should the MAC school put on the table to get that athlete’s decision? Kim said it is important to know that individual’s family very well. It might be as simple as the school being close to the athlete’s home, whether a particular major is offered and the availability of academic support. If you don’t know what is important to an individual student-athletes, you cannot sell to that individual.
George Shur asked if she has looked at the role of relationships athletes have with other students and vice versa. In terms of attracting the student body to athletics events, Kim said if a team is doing well or is participating in a bowl or other post-season competition, fan support increases. He went on to ask about how athletes are perceived on campus by other students. Some student-athletes said they appreciated being recognized by other students and also the media attention they received. Sometimes, however, the stereotypes about athletes are problematic. We need to also work on getting them into the student body and getting support from general student body beyond their teammates.
Student-athletes are generally happy and satisfied. To make them feel satisfied takes the academic support they receive and counseling when they are injured. There is a lot of physical stress on them. With that support, they felt the university cared about them.
Gip then asked what type of things this board could be involved with as it relates to welfare. Kim has thought about that issue and one thing that occurs is offering counseling when athletes are injured. It was amazing to hear how much stress they suffered when injured. It is very important to have a support group in place for them in that situation. They seem to very much appreciate the academic support they receive because they do not have a great deal of free time and that support helps. Kim would like the Athletic Board to consider the athletes’ social lives. They don’t have “down time” and they need to get some relief from stress. Respondents to the survey said they needed time to enjoy life.
Robert Collins said they all come to an abrupt halt when their athletics career ends, either from injury or exhausted eligibility. We have put into place our Huskie Interns program which gives them a work experience basis for moving to the next level in their life. Gip explained that there is a student welfare committee which has been looking at what issues to work on and it was Cary Groth’s feeling that their work would dovetail well with Kim’s research.
George Shur said it is possible we humanize the athletes. At other schools, student-athletes do not eat with or live with the general student population but we do a good job in mainstreaming our athletes.
Gip pointed out that today’s discussion is just to get some ideas from the Board members. He will then look at how the subcommittees can best work on the suggested topics.
Brian Scholle said the Huskie Club and public relations subcommittee, Michael Ward and Scott Lowenberg from Athletics, will work together.
Ken Olson said he is very excited after listening to Kim’s presentation. If you want students to leave Northern with good feelings, that is very important. Gip said the UNIV101 class was a good one for our athletes to take.
VII. AdjournmentTara Hawkins felt that had she not spent so much time with other athletes during her career, it might have provided additional great experiences. Joe True said the student-athletes feel they have two sets of friends: their teammates and other students they meet in class. The PAWS (Providing Athletes With Support) group just help its first meeting last night and it seems that the student organizations on campus are trying to get students to attend athletics events. He also suggested that the leaders of all the student organizations on campus get together and develop one marketing plan rather than 50 separate ones.
Ray Tourville made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Brian Scholle seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Gip reminded everyone that the executive committee meets the first Wednesday of each month and until we have the subcommittee membership set, it might be best if those who were on executive committee last year attend the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Athletic Board is Wednesday, October 16, 2002,
at 1:00 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center Room #406. The executive
committee will meet in the administrative conference room in Convocation
Center #200 at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, 2002.