NCAA Official Sees Quest for Balance

NCAA Official Sees Quest for Balance

Universities nationwide want to keep priorities in focus, says Dempsey

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

The spiraling growth and popularity of intercollegiate athletics have caused institutions nationwide to renew their quest for balance between educational mission and financial success, said National Collegiate Athletic Association Executive Director Cedric Dempsey in an Oct. 15 address in Cushing Hall.

Dempsey also offered his views on other topical collegiate athletic issues in his talk to an audience of about 150 administrators, faculty and students.

"We [the NCAA] could produce the second biggest sports television revenue contract in the world - second only to the National Football League," Dempsey said. "It's certainly an exciting possibility for those schools that need additional revenue, but it brings us back to the basic philosophical issue of educational mission.

"The need to raise money to build new facilities and the like puts a clear emphasis on winning," he said. "Offering high salaries to coaches to achieve winning can cause problems among faculty members."

Dempsey's visit to Boston College was part of an ongoing effort by top NCAA administrators to personally meet students, faculty and staff at a variety of the organization's 950 member institutions.

NCAA Executive Director Cedric Dempsey spoke with Emily Ryan '01, a lacrosse player, after delivering his remarks. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

Dempsey said that NCAA initiatives such as the institutional certification study, which was completed at Boston College last spring, help keep a school's priorities in proper focus. The certification program includes a self-study phase, followed by an outside evaluation report that covers the areas of rules compliance, academic integrity, fiscal integrity and commitment to equity. The final report on BC is expected by the end of the year.

"The advantage of the process is that it allows an institution to sit back and say, 'Are we accomplishing what we want to accomplish?'" he said.

Although he declined to discuss Boston College's certification specifically, Dempsey said, "BC is strong, but there are always a few areas at every school that may need a little work."

Dempsey said that institutions are seeing the effect of the 1972 Title IX legislation requiring equal opportunities for women in collegiate athletics.

"It's been slow coming, but we have made steady progress," he said, adding that the success of the US women's squads in the 1996 Olympics was a direct result of college sports teams acting as developmental programs for the national sports effort.

A former athletic director at the University of Arizona, Dempsey also said that the complex set of NCAA rules applied to college athletics is a result of the failure of institutions to trust one another to follow rules of sportsmanship and fair play.

"If we were to think from an integrity standpoint, we probably wouldn't need rules," he said. "Until we knock down the barriers and start to trust one another, we will continue to have 500 pages of rules and regulations."

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