From overseeing to advising, possible changes coming for athletics committee
The efficiency of the university’s Intercollegiate Athletic committee has been called into question, by the committee itself.
Chair of the committee Andy Karduna and Faculty Athletic Representative Tim Gleason have drafted a proposal that would address its shortcomings. In its current oversight role, communication between the senate, committee and president have been nearly non-existent.
“I can say with a pretty high level of confidence that we have not been very successful in following our charge,” Karduna said.
This failure to live up to the charge has resulted in miscommunication. Gleason explained that when the dysfunction was realized, the athletic department was told that they no longer had to attend the meetings. Considering that the committee’s purpose was to deal with athletics and academics coming together, a key piece of the puzzle was missing.
Between the broad charge placed on the committee and failure to communicate, the tangible role of the committee is hazy, even for those at the helm.
At the time the response by President Gottfredson was to create a second committee to serve in an advisory role. The President’s advisory committee on intercollegiate athletics and the IAC were supposed to work together to accomplish what the IAC had failed to do on its own. That goal has been kept in mind with the most recent proposal.
“The president wants to have an advisory committee and he is very interested in and committed to hearing advice from the faculty on academic matters,” Gleason said.
If it is accepted by the Senate, this proposal would eliminate both the IAC and President’s advisory committee, creating an Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee.
In terms of structure, the University of Oregon’s current committee looks very different from other schools in the Pac-12. Where other school’s IAC’s are already operating in an advisory role, the UO is locked into an oversight position with a broad mandate hanging over its head.
“If you read that current charge, and then look at how we operate, there isn’t good alignment there,” said Gleason.
Karduna believes the committee should be successfully engaging faculty, students, the athletic department and administration. Academic issues that the committee would have a hand in range from helping student-athletes work around travel and practice schedules to ensuring that they are not prevented from majoring in their desired field because of athletic commitments.
“They’re athletes, but they’re students, and we want them to have the ability to be engaged as students,” Karduna said.
In Gleason’s eyes, the biggest issue for student athletes are time demands. The NCAA Basketball tournament took place during finals week this year, creating difficulties for the athletes that a majority of students don’t have to deal with. The new and improved committee would have an open line of communication with the athletic department as well as faculty members.
The proposal has faced push back at every stage, so it is still being revised. With senate elections and realignment on the committee itself, it is unlikely that changes will be made this year. What’s important for Karduna is the collaborative effort.
“If we have buy-in from the president, buy-in from the senate, I would much rather do that than the Senate just passing something that the president doesn’t have buy-in.”
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