Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Holmes Student Center Room #406, 1:00 pm
Present: Terry Bishop (Chair), TJ Lusher, Ron Short, Harry Wright, Jan Rintala, Dave La Cerra, Cary Groth, Earl Hansen, Josephine Umoren, Malcolm Morris, Gip Seaver, Bob Beatty, Kathy Rettig, Marcia Dick, Ray Tourville, Nolan Davis, Cue Kadkhodaian, Craig Marcus, Eric Johnson.
Guests: Sheila Berg, Athletics Business Manager; Tekla Martin, Director of Athletic Development; Steve Simmons, Head Men’s Soccer Coach.
I. Call to Order – Terry Bishop
II. Approval of June 18, 2003 Meeting Minutes
Malcolm Morris made a motion to approve the June 18, 2003, meeting minutes. Jan Rintala seconded the motion.
Having no additions or corrections, the motion was carried unanimously.
III. Introduction of New Athletic Board Members
Terry began the meeting by welcoming everyone. All Board members were asked to introduce themselves.
IV. Introduction of New Athletics Department Staff Members
A. Steve Simmons, Head Men’s Soccer Coach
Terry began by asking Cary Groth to introduce Steve. Cary said Steve
had been the top assistant at Oregon State. He is now leading our
soccer program and has hired an outstanding staff. Cary asked Steve to talk a little bit about the program.
Steve stated that one of the challenges to be faced as a department and
a university is how to deal with the budget constraints. For men’s
particularly, though they cannot control the budget, they can control the work ethic. He is having a pretty good time selling NIU. He wants to make
sure they reach the proper student fit, both academically and on the field.
Steve said he is fortunate to have brought his assistant coach in with
him. The current team is experiencing culture shock and they are
He is trying to change the culture of the team and what the level of expectation is. In looking at football and the other programs, he does not want to
shoot for less. When he looked at the team GPA here, it was fantastic. He wants to continue recruiting that type of student-athlete. Steve then thanked
the Board for the opportunity to speak at the meeting.
Terry said that there has
been some variation in the standing committees. During the most recent
executive committee meeting, the topic of the committees
came up. Terry then sent around the committee sign-up sheet and asked everyone to select one that most interests them.
In Paul Bauer’s absence Terry reported that the gender equity Committee was changed to add ‘diversity’ to its focus. This refers to not only how to
comply with Title IX but inclusiveness and integration of gender-based, racial, and national origin issues. It is Terry’s feeling that Paul will most likely
continue to chair that committee.
Ray Tourville said that this will be the first time in four years that it will be interesting to talk about Athletics’ budget. He welcomes anyone who wants
to serve on the committee. The committee works with Sheila Berg, who does a wonderful job. They meet alternate times from the Board meetings.
Faculty Athletics Representative
Jan Rintala has been processing lots of certification of eligibility paperwork. She will be attending the Division 1A Faculty Athletics Representative
meetings in Dallas at the end of the month primarily relating to academics and student welfare issues. They will also be discussing how some of the new
rules (40/60/80%) will impact the campus and the student-athletes in particular.
Jan feels fortunate that Ray Dembinski continues to be available to her
since his retirement earlier this month. She will report on issues
as she sees them.
Also, if there are items about which the Board needs to be aware, Jan will bring those forward.
Terry began by saying that this subcommittee is a bit of an amalgamation. We will be seeking someone to serve as chair. Jan Rintala will serve as an
ex-officio member. There is not a sufficient vehicle for consideration of some of the things student-athletes must deal with and also for their broader
Cary added that the committee would encompass not only PAWS (Providing
Athletes With Support) but also our CHAMPS/LifeSkills component and
meeting the needs and expectations of student-athletes. The committee has done great work. That committee proposed that SASS (Student-Athlete
Support Services) be moved under the jurisdiction of Athletics from the Provost’s Office. It is important to have this committee, especially in an era of
Terry said discussion was also held some years ago about priority registration
for athletes, which eventually did happen. There is a great deal
for this subcommittee.
Cary also said it is important to review the 40/60/80% rule this year.
Athletics has done a great job in getting the word out about it but it
has a significant
impact on the department.
Terry stated that this committee blends public relations as it relates to Intercollegiate Athletics and the community. Also, right now the issue of student
ticket pick-up would be a good subject for discussion. The committee comes from input by the Huskie Club, public relations, and marketing and
promotions and also includes ticket prices and ticketing options. Terry said the intent was to broaden the committee’s scope and to consider the
relationship of intercollegiate athletics to the university and the outlying community.
Tekla Martin then presented the Board members with a bottle of Turner ‘The
Burner’ hot sauce. She said that Mike Korcek, our Sports Information
Director, had the foresight to establish whether the Turner ‘The Burner’ web address was available. It was and we have now purchased that web
address. Tekla is working with a company to develop the website, which they have done and gifted to us. ESPN has stated that NIU has the best
Heisman website out there.
VI. New Business
Revised FY04 Comp Policy
Cary began discussion by saying she is bringing the FY04 comp policy back to get Board approval of a couple of revisions to the policy. Over the
years, Athletics has dramatically cut down on the number of comp tickets distributed. In light of the Maryland game and the ticketing and public relations
issues which stemmed from our going from the Paciolan ticketing system to Ticketmaster, Cary would like to request the following revisions.
She would like to increase the three associate athletics directors’ and
one assistant athletics director’s four tickets to eight. They would
use those tickets
on a game-by-game basis to help people who have helped us.
Cary would also like to add an athletics administration allotment to the
policy. For example, at the Maryland game, we turned people away
from the east
side and seated them in the west side. To compensate them, Cary offered them tickets to another football game of their choice. As we continue to grow,
we will have such situations arise and Cary wants to keep the customers happy. Having this flexibility would allow the athletics staff to do some good
public relations work.
Earl Hansen made a motion to approve the revised FY04 comp policy. Nolan Davis seconded the motion.
Gip Seaver asked if the use of the word “approximate” will be acceptable to the auditors. Cary responded that they had suggested the term be used.
Malcolm Morris asked how many additional comp tickets this will change.
Cary said the two requested additions cover approximately 1100 additional
single game tickets. The addition of the athletics administration tickets really refers to Cary addressing some public relations issues. Malcolm then asked
what happens if the tickets do not get used. He then asked to use football as an example and if Cary would be using 150 for the Iowa State game. Cary
said we will not be using comps for Iowa State because the game is sold out but use them for the following games. For example, if, the day before a
game there are comps to be used, they would be printed only on an as-needed basis. Those tickets that are not printed do not count since they are not
Having no further discussion, the motion was carried unanimously.
Fourth Quarter Report
Ray Tourville began his report by indicating that the report is presented today for approval at next month’s Board meeting. It is the responsibility of the
Board to oversee the half of the funds that are expended in the Athletics budgets. Additionally, since there are so many new people on the Board this
year, he reported that at the last Board meeting of the previous academic year, it was decided that to save money and paper, only a bottom line report
will be presented. A verbal report will be presented at each Board meeting but only for the fourth quarter report will this entire budget packet be
presented. Ray then provided an overview of the information presented.
Besides football and men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, gymnastics,
and wrestling are the only sports for which we charge admission.
other sports do not charge admission.
Games management expenses will probably be an annual cost. The agreement
is that central administration will be picking them up, however.
asked for clarification of these expenses. Cary said, for example, whenever we have an athletics event at the Convocation Center, instead of our hiring
students to work, the Convocation Center staff is hired and there are fees associated with that. When we need chairs, tables or meeting space, there are
costs associated with them, as well.
Cary then asked the Board members to look at the final FY03 closing condition.
We have balanced the budget and will end up in the black this next
fiscal year. The increased enrollment helps and also the football numbers have really helped.
Sheila Berg then presented information regarding the broad-based pool distribution.
She said the money comes from NCAA television revenue shared
annually with the conference and is based on sports and scholarships offered. We have been doing well in this respect. Dropping the swimming program
will negatively impact that revenue stream. This money has allowed us to handle budget reductions since approximately 1997. We have been able to
offload expenses to this revenue stream.
Sheila added that we have also tried to address various sports’ programmatic
needs such as uniforms or facility needs. This was discussed with
Board in the third quarter report. It is good to have these dollars to help accommodate some one-time expenses. Cary said the broad-based pool
monies make a big different to us. It came at a very good time when we had to cut general revenue money in 1997.
Sheila went on to say that at the next Board meeting, we will be presenting the projected FY04 budget.
Jan Rintala asked if this money is related to the number of MAC teams qualifying
for post-season competition. Cary said it is not but in three years,
will be a big jump in this revenue because of Kent State’s appearance in the NCAA tournament last season.
Terry Bishop asked how the amount of money is figured. Cary said
it is a five year average. The last couple of years, only one MAC
team has gone to
the NCAAs. Kent State went to the Elite Eight last year which will really help us. With the CBS television contract, it translates into a fair amount of
The fourth quarter report will be acted on at the October 15 Board meeting.
Cary distributed copies of the article that was in the Chicago Sun Times following the NIU victory against Maryland.
Student ticket pick-up
Cary stated that there is lots of misinformation out there about student ticket pick-up. The article in the Northern Star came out with a negative spin.
There are approximately 8500 seats on the east side. There is still
room on the east side but Cary is not comfortable releasing any more seats
of the general admission needs. At the Maryland game, when the east side looked full to the University police, they cut off student admissions. A lot of
students were turned away from the east side and Athletics does not want that to happen. Athletics wants to make sure the students get into the games.
The north endzone has not been opened for seating because the ground underneath
the bleachers is in bad shape. Athletics has been working on this
the past two years. The Physical Plant staff was willing to replace the first five rows of the bleachers but patrons could not be seated above the fifth row.
Cary and the athletics staff are very concerned about the safety factor with those seats.
Craig Marcus asked why only 6,000 seats are allocated to the students.
Cary said she has been working very closely with the Student Association
this and notified the president that she was going with 6,000 seats and that students would be required to pick up their tickets. In a time when Athletics
does not want to increase athletic fees, it needs to generate more revenue. There are not many seats to sell on the east side but Cary hopes students can
get used to having to pick up their tickets, especially for men’s basketball. She also reminded the Board that paying student athletic fees does not
guarantee a seat for every student. The number one reason for instituting student ticket pick-up was to protect the students. In the past, Athletics sold
whatever tickets it could and the rest were left for the students. The new process was set up for the students.
Tekla Martin added that when the east stands begin to look full to the
University Police, they close it down. The student ticket pick-up
policy will help
them control the crowd and also when someone has a hard ticket, Athletics will know that 6,000 students can get into the stands.
Craig then asked how many people can fit on the east side. Cary said
without the end zones, approximately 12,000 more or less. Malcolm
to something Cary had mentioned earlier and asked if paying an athletic fee guarantees a seat to an event and when students pay those fees, what do they
believe they are paying for? Craig answered that most students don’t even know what their fees go toward. They have been used to just walking in to a
football game. Looking at other schools with big football programs, their students pay hundreds of dollars for season tickets. Our student body feels
they should be able to just walk into an event. Malcolm expressed his feeling that it might be appropriate in the future to make sure students know
exactly what their fees do pay.
Cary went on to explain that figuring the cost of a season ticket for football
and men’s and women’s basketball and other events, students pay
approximately 2/3 of that cost if they came to every single event. It is the culture that has been here. Gip stated that Athletics went this way before with
basketball in Evans Field House and the Board discussed how many of the seats in the Field House should be allocated to the students. Cary added that
in 1999, for our game with Wisconsin, we asked students to pick up tickets so this is a system we have used before. Bob Beatty stated that this situation
is a good thing. As the program moves forward, things will change. Cary noted, too, that this coming summer, the east side seats will be numbered.
TJ Lusher said of the 6,000 students, how many are repeat attendees?
Cary said that Athletics today got a list of verified actual fee-paying
students. Athletics will now be able to gather that data. With the tickets, Athletics will be using a card scanner to scan each ticket. That way, we will
know minute-by-minute how many patrons are coming into the Stadium.
Cary cautioned the Board to remember that at the Maryland game on the east
side, there were 3500 youth football league tickets. Those tickets,
general admission tickets and the band’s 262 spots calculates to there been less than 6,000 NIU students in the east stands. It is just a matter of
TJ then asked if Athletics would think about selling a student season pass.
Cary said Athletics has to be very cautious with that option. Athletics
to a “seats in the seats” requirement next year, which is also an issue. Terry said if someone is asked, for a student ticket, they must show a valid student
ID for admission to an event. Cary added that students must bring both their ticket and their valid ID to the games.
Nolan Davis said there is also difficulty guaranteeing season tickets because
it is unfair to those students who are not interested in attending all
The question was asked if the card swipe system was used in the past. It is not wise to do general admission anymore. We need to make it easier for
students and guarantee them some seats. No one in the MAC guarantees students seats, however.
Terry then asked with the distribution at the Convocation Center, will
Athletics have the ability to track student admissions precisely?
They could then
use that data to market the Athletics Department to students. Cary went on to say that the ticket windows opened at the Convocation Center this
morning at 8:00am but then the OneCard system went down.
Malcolm Morris asked if the entrance process will be slower now.
Cary feels it should be faster, because with the card swipe system,
we won’t have to
be more cautious about the numbers.
Marcia Dick then mentioned at the Tennessee Tech game, which was also High
School Band Day, there was only one water fountain which was
operational at the east stands and the concessions operator ran out of water. Cary said Athletics needs to be prepared before games for every situation.
As it relates to concessions, Tekla mentioned that discussion been had about getting people into the east stands to sell soda or snacks. The steps in both
stands would present a safety issue for anyone carrying large amounts of soda or snacks to sell.
Malcolm Morris made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ray Tourville Seconded the motion. Carried unanimously.
The next meeting of the
Athletic Board will be on Wednesday, October 15, 2003, at 1:00 p.m. in
Holmes Student Center #406. The executive
committee will meet on Wednesday, October 1, 2003, at 1:00 p.m. in the administrative conference room in Convocation Center #200.